- Rebecca Corbett
- 27 August 2015
This article is from 2015.
A man, a stage, some face paint and one hell of a story
Justin Butcher’s tongue twister script, which takes Commedia Dell’Arte’s jester Scaramouche on a mystical adventure, is performed expertly by Thom Tuck (Penny Dreadfuls, Radio 4). Starting in the ‘arse end of the twentieth century’, Tuck takes the audience back in time. He experiences the changes that the past century bought, from his gypsy mother, ‘a bottomless receptacle for the many passing seamen’ in the colonial Caribbean all the way to Nazi-occupied Europe.
Butcher’s poetic and painterly writing challenges the traditional image of clowns, the white face, the red nose and the distorted facial expressions. Tuck’s skilled and hugely impressive performance of Scaramouche Jones shows that there is a lot more to a clown than a ghoulish facial expression.
Tuck’s performance is storytelling in its simplest form: a man, a stage, some face paint and one hell of a story. The images that he conjures with a combination of Butcher’s language, a treasure chest of accents and commanding use of his physicality, mean that Tuck is definitely deserving of a glug of water if not something stronger at the end.
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