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Marcel Lucont: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Alexis Dubus has got a lot of mileage (kilometreage?) out of this walking French stereotype. Marcel Lucont Is  an aloof, sexually arrogant, philosophising wine-drinker, full of  disdain for the English he has so reluctantly allowed into his company.

Like Al Murray’s Pub Landlord, the creation is simple to grasp, but multi-faceted. Even if the gags fit a pattern of prejudices, they can be approached from various directions – and the joke is as much on the character as the apparently intended target.

Dubus can write some strong lines to this format, but there’s always a slight consciousness that it IS a format – the character remains a character, and never  quite seems real. Not at all a problem over 20 minutes, but leads to a detachment over an hour.

Still, a gamut of techniques are used to vary the pace: an extract from the teenage Lucont’s diaries – which demonstrate a prodigious  sexually maturity – a poem, a schematic of a few more adventurous bedroom techniques, or an amusing chanson or two.

Dubus’s delivery is skilful and Silky-smooth, with well-developed languid pacing and able to indulge in linguistic gymnastics worthy of Ronnie Barker, if required. He’s good with his tongue, this one.

And yes, innuendos are all present and correct – after all, the French gave us ‘double entendre’, even though this reaches a nadir with his discussion of ‘Continental Breastfest’.  But these are accompanied by more imaginative gags true to his theme and the odd bit of Gallic insight into where Britain is going wrong, and other subjects. You’ll take a different attitude to bidding someone ‘adieu’ after this.

His haughty attitude aids with audience interaction, when people come in late or nip to the toilet, he can put them in their place with a witheringly sarcastic put down, entirely in character. And if a joke doesn’t get what he wants, it’s just English repression.

Lucont’s been around for several years now, and Dubus seems to have plenty of solid, sometimes excellent, material for him – even though he hasn’t quite got that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to make it a Fringe must-see.

Review date: 23 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Cowgate

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