The great thing about the Fringe festival is that, on top of showcasing our fresh South African talent, we also get to see some hot international acts – great for benchmarking our talent and refreshingly free of Malema or Bafana jokes. Marcel Lucont raises the bar high while he hits squarely below the belt but with such charm and cleverness that the lewd nature of his material entertains far more than it offends.
UK-based Alexis Dubus (but don’t mention his real name) graces our South African stages as the extraordinary drunken French poet and philosopher Marcel Lucont. In his special wit, as dry as an aged French red wine, he muses about life and the state of society, heckles the audience and looks mostly humorously inconvenienced to be barefoot and suited up on City Hall’s stage.
For people like me who realise they have a very specific sense of humour, going to a comedy show can be a gamble. I’ve sat through entire routines without cracking a smile, wondering if I missed an important part of popular history or if I’m just way too hard to please. And then I sat down to Marcel Lucont, and he poked and prodded every funny bone I possess. If you like your comedy dry, witty, sarcastic and a little bit dark, then I urge you to check out Marcel Lucont. No review can capture the essence of his razor sharp wordplay in the poems that he recites – melting together prosaic concepts around unlikely topics such as erectile dysfunction or the joys of not shaving. That his material is intelligent and well thought-out is indisputable. That it ranks with the best in world became evident when he brought home the gong for Best Comedy Show at the World Fringe Fest 2014.
With a resumé that includes Europe, Vietnam and Croatia as well as time well spent criticizing the Aussies on their home soil, Marcel Lucont is a big fish for Cape Town to land in its inaugural Fringe Festival. Sadly, with the current (lack of) Fringe awareness, and a weekend competing with the rugby and Franschhoek Uncorked and the Hout Bay Seafood Festival, his first show drew measly numbers into the small room at City Hall. Unfazed, Marcel Lucont flawlessly worked this lack of audience interest into his show and still performed as if he had a filled City Hall Auditorium to himself, drawing banter and belly-laughs from the sparse crowd. For comedy lovers, even more than for his sake, I hope that his other shows – as well as all the others at the Fringe festival – will be filled to the brim. Rather be one of the people reminiscing about how good the show was than bemoaning the great show you missed.
Marcel Lucont’s show can be seen at City Hall 2 & 4 until 29 September as part of the Cape Town Fringe Festival which runs until 5 October 2014.