SPC Reviews: Doing What It Says On The Tin

Doing What It Says On The Tin

Written and performed by Tom Dussek
Rialto Theatre
Brighton Fringe 2017

Brighton’s a city of property owners, doing up, renovating and restoring. But someone’s got to do it, taking the life-threatening risks up on our roofs and getting the dodgy knees, numb thumb and freezing fingers along the way. Doing What It Says On The Tin takes a look at how a bloke deals with getting hurt, damaged, too cold to function.

Writer/performer Tom Dussek has the Ronnie Barker gift of transformation and stand-up comic timing. He looks and sounds the part, trudging about in stained t-shirt, shorts and proper boots, barking morosely into a tatty mobile and pulling off a great bit of sash window restoration before your very eyes.

It’s a showcase of vocal dexterity and range as the Builder mimics his clients, tells inappropriate gags and does a fine Brian Blessed, with a sly self-education running gag, storytelling, mammoth wrestling and the last word on architects along the way.

There’s unexpected charm in tender, hurt sadness over a marriage of misunderstandings and kids drifting away, and a surge of inarticulate pride at a compliment buried beneath the armour of casual and automatic swearing and bitter hilarity.

Sitting in an audience of people who can’t do it ourselves, feeling just uncomfortable enough, I thought if there’s got to be a message in drama, here it’s respect the blokes who keep you warm and safe. And phone your Dad.

Philippa Hammond