Marcel Lucont - Whine List
Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa. April 2017
If you are looking for low-key faux-French ironic stereotyping, look no further than an evening with the tres amusant Marcel Lucont. Having spent the best part of a decade working in comedy clubs across the UK and overseas, our host performs this laid-back show and breathes life into this most languid of characters with consummate ease, unphased by the rather small audience turnout at this weekday provincial theatre gig. Relying on the basic appeal of this subtle parody of a comic creation, Lucont has formed what may be regarded as a very easy show to write and perform. As the name of the tour suggests, this show is about whining, or more pertinently, the whines and complaints of the evening's crowd whose anecdotes he attempts to harvest before the show by issuing paper forms and pens to people on their arrival at the theatre. He then proceeds to select the juicier responses and poke gentle fun at them. For over an hour. It's a funny idea, often used by comedians, but seldom employed to fill out almost an entire show in this way and is only a very small step up from entry level 'stand-ups' doing "What's your name and where are you from?" audience banter ad nauseum.
Gone though, must be any doubt that saying something in a funny accent is more entertaining than saying it in a straight voice. Plenty of the material he had to work with on this particular occasion was pretty thin and uninteresting but was given immediate comic value by him simply saying "What the fuck?" in a french accent. But is the gentle Brit-bashing and psuedo-stylised famous French disdain enough to give value for money for a whole 2 hour show? This whole French thing is after-all, just the one joke. Lucont showed glimpses of genuine writing craft with actual prepared jokes slipped deftly into his to-ing and fro-ing with the audience so we know he can do original material and do it well, but sadly these were mere occasional titbits, none of which was able to garner a belly-laugh or applause from anywhere as he failed to press home any comedy momentum with his deliberately slow-paced delivery.
At best this was an amusing, if sedate, journey of double-bluff and indulgent cliche. At the very least it was a clever performer making us smile without trying very hard. Either way, the overheard conversation from a couple as they exited the theatre afterwards summed it up,- "Did you enjoy that?", "Err, yes I think so". "Hmm, me too. Would you recommend it to someone?", "...No". And it's a pretty safe bet they weren't talking about their interval ice creams.