Tucked: Two drag queens form their own family in this warm dramedy

Review: Derren Nesbitt and Jordan Stephens charm with easy chemistry

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Director: Jamie Patterson
Cert: Club
Genre: Comedy
Starring: Derren Nesbitt, Jordan Stephens, Steve Oram, April Pearson, Joss Porter
Running Time: 1 hr 20 mins

Set in the faded glittery world of an unfashionable old-school Brighton gay bar, this warm dramedy concerns a young drag performer and his older adopted aunt. Or possibly father-figure. They’re good at dodging labels.

House performer Jackie – or Jack – Collins (Derren Nesbitt) has been dispensing catty remarks and dirty jokes for decades with biting jabs when Jack is introduced to 21-year-old Faith (Jordan Stephens), a new club singer.

When Jack sees Faith, who is non-binary and gay, climbing into a car to sleep, he reluctantly takes the youngster home. There, Faith is surprised to learn that the ageing queen is not gay, has an estranged daughter (April Pearson), and does not have long to live.

An unlikely friendship ensues as the pair work through Jack’s touchingly achievable bucket list: “You’re like the straight cross-dressing grandad I never had,” says Faith.


Despite obvious narrative overlaps, Tucked couldn’t feel less like Viva, the Cuban-set Irish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. Prolific indie filmmaker Jamie Patterson (Caught, Home for Christmas) works in delicate motions to ensure Tucked, which won the audience award and jury prize for best international film at Outfest, is never mawkish or melodramatic.

That lightness of touch is evident in all departments from cinematographer Paul O’Callaghan’s classic compositions to the charming, easy chemistry between Stephens and Nesbitt. The latter, a screen veteran who once menaced Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare, puts in a turn that is as revelatory as it is moving. Not too shabby for an 83-year-old with credits stretching back to A Night to Remember in 1958.

Watch out for Steve Oram’s fun cameo as a drug dealer who gets freaked out by Jack and Faith’s gender fluidity.

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic