Walt Disney's Lion King 3, Thom Tuck explains, is a straight-to-video 'parallelquel' alternately known as Lion King 1½. That is, it's a non-cinematic entry into the Lion King movie franchise, the events of which, unlike those of a sequel or a prequel, take place alongside the timeline of the original. Got it? To make matters even more confusing for the film's presumably pre-teen intended audience, there is a fourth-wall-breaking storyline in which Lion King characters watch The Lion King in a cinema and are eventually joined by Mickey Mouse, Snow White and a parade of other popular characters in a universe-crossing meltdown of all natural laws.
I listen to Thom's review with slack-jawed incredulity. How can a production from a studio as prestigious as Disney be so staggeringly and weirdly bad? I struggle to believe it and vow to check Wikipedia for verification. But, of course, it is all too real, and so are the other fifty-three cash-in productions covered by Thom in the show. Like a comedy Joseph Smith, it is very much to his credit that he discovered this plethora of non-canonical oddness and saw fit to bring it along for analysis.
These reports from the strange world of the Disney spin-off are tremendously entertaining, especially when performed with such cartoonish charisma, but there's an unfortunate expectation that we have intimate knowledge of the more iconic Disney films. There's even a Little Mermaid singalong, to which I think we're genuinely expected to know the lyrics. To be fair, the show's marketing has attracted a number of Disney fans to the room but many of us (including a woman lambasted for not knowing what The Return of Jafar might be) are left a little alienated.
The Disney analysis is complemented by seemingly real stories from Thom's past, each about how a girl "broke his heart". The two narrative strands dovetail nicely without explicitly crossing over and so form a nicely opaque storytelling device. Unfortunately, his romantic gestures leave us a tad cold: we would gladly have been entertained by his neediness if he'd demonstrated more awareness of it, but it appears we're supposed to sympathise. Through this miscalculation, these sections end up feeling a bit creepy.
An excellent one-man show, albeit compromised by the unnecessary opening of a romantic Ark of the Covenant. Instead, I could have stood to hear more about the parallelquel world of Tarzan II, which apparently takes place not just alongside the original movie but inside one of its songs: an extraordinarily clever thing to drag into the comedy arena.
A list of the ten comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe festival which picked up the best press reviews. Read
Adrienne Truscott and Barry Ferns have won the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards for their unique actions. Read
See paper models of the seven contenders for the main Edinburgh Comedy Award 2013. Read
Has anyone seen a coach? The driver from Go Northern is anxiously still looking for his vehicle... Read
A team of comedians from PBH shows lost out to the 'Rest of the Fest' in a charity football match. Read
A big crowd turned out for a LGBT gig organised by Mark Thomas outside the Russian Federation. Read
Demi Lardner and Edd Hedges have jointly won the 'So You Think You're Funny?' new act competition. Read