EFR - Reviews of Marcel Lucont's Whinelist

Marcel Lucont's Whinelist

Wed 3rd – Sun 28th August 2016

reviews

Ruby Gilding

at 09:25 on 10th Aug 2016

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With his self-assured Gallic front Marcel Lucont embodies the rakish persona that British audiences seem to demand from our French cousins. However, English-born Alexis Dubus fully exploites this stereotype with his Mod-come-Serge Gainsbourg aesthetic. Acting as sommelier Lucont guides us through his whine list of light, fruity and heavy confessions. The show’s pithy observations about Britain are delivered as Lucont nurses a glass of wine, whilst the audience nurses the bruised ego of a nation. The promise of audience participation brought out a tangible buzz in the packed venue, but is undermined by a later unwillingness to offer themselves as fodder to Lucont’s jokes.

The ‘Whine List’ displayes an ability to spin comedy gold out of limited available material. Part set piece and part improvisation, devised from the viewers’ responses to questions like “what was your worst day at work?”, Lucont manages to integrate his routine with a suave wit. His measured delivery paces the laughs until they are as fully developed as his alter ego. This expert timing enables him to quickly respond to emerging material as he derides the audience. Lucont suggests it will be like a group therapy session, as he dead pans, “from which you will probably leave feeling more depressed”.

As raconteur, Lucont intersperses the structured format of his “whine list” with passages from his autobiography 'Moi'. Although the change to anecdotal comedy jars initially, the story of Lucont’s womanising exploits in the circus complement his posturing bravado. However, a surprise segue into a bawdy song that warns against recreating the professional moves of porn stars is not as successful. The variety of his set makes it closer to cabaret than the immersive comedy under which ‘Whine List’ is billed. This desire to expand his material is commendable as Lucont’s freedom to experiment creates highlights such as his amusingly condescending documentary film about the British seaside.

Despite its hilarity, this air of superiority seems to backfire in Lucont’s audience interactions; their shyness to own up to confessions meant that Lucont repeatedly questions if we understood the point of the show, or even how to hold a conversation. The potential awkwardness that this could create is avoided by Lucont’s ability to make a punch line out of any situation. He makes for a charming figure, and it is not just the accent. The ‘Whine List’ is an hour of witty character comedy that manages to make stereotypes into an imaginative and original source of humour.

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Toby Clyde

at 14:49 on 10th Aug 2016

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In the breathy Gaelic drawl of a man who knows he’s better than you but is happy to prove it anyway, Marcel Lucont delivers stand up comedy that is a masterpiece of timing and improvisation. This poet, lover and singer provides one of the most enjoyable hours of indifferent condescension to be found this side of the Channel, and is certainly one of the highlights of this Fringe.

Lucont is the kind of character who would be well-travelled without leaving the house, but fresh from a world tour, this comedic personality is an experienced and welcome return to Edinburgh. His new 'Whinelist' is more interactive, taking pre-show contributions from audience members as a starting point to cuttingly discuss their hilarious mishaps. One man was so high at work that he got into a fight with a cleaner. Another was briefly abandoned in Paris when she was 12.

Above it all is Lucont, providing not so much group therapy as perfectly executed character assassination, a performance that drips with condescension, wit and nonchalance. Within minutes he has the room rolled up in the palm of his hand like a fine cigarette. Some audience members are understandably reluctant to take part and how palatable this will be for some is, as always, a matter of opinion. However Lucont would be the first to protest his highly refined taste, and he certainly does a fantastic job at negotiating these gaps.

His quest to ridicule ignorance is not only confined to improvisation however. In fact, the set is well varied, shifting between topical stand up, ditties on the subtleties of lovemaking and a short video viciously panning the great British seaside. If some of the storytelling and singing falls slightly short of his usual cutting insight, it is because the standards of this show are so very high, a height from which Lucont hilariously dissects the idiocy of the world around him.

The ‘Whinelist’ is an arrogant pleasure and when Lucont asked who was returning from last year it was clear large numbers of the audience had. In response Lucont remarked, ‘I wish I could see me for the first time’. I did and it was glorious.

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