Alexis Dubus is a clever man.
When he persuaded his close friend and colleague Marcel Lucont to put aside his horror of appalling food, dreadful weather, inefficient train services, horrible beers and, generally, anyone who is not French, and return to the Fringe, he realised that, unlikely as it might seem for a man with all the personal warmth of the Bastille, Marcel’s greatest talent lies in interacting with his adoring public. I say interacting, I really mean sneering at and despising. And so we are privileged to cram into a student bar and share our worst moments with the man who makes Jeremy Paxman look like Holly Willoughby, in what he calls a kind of ‘Group Terapy’. We are asked to offer up our worst days at work, our worst romantic encounters and our worst experiences abroad. Never has so much personal pain been put to such comic effect. But none of it is really about us. It is about Marcel. Of course. And so when he is not attempting to understand why a primary school teacher would allow herself to be hit over the head by a child wielding a wheelbarrow (Worst Day At Work No 2), he is reading from his yet to be published autobiography (entitled, what else, ‘Moi’). I will always remember how fondly he spoke of the ‘transferable skills’ of Bridget The Sword Swallower. As a salutary warning to us all, Marcel has made a revealing documentary about the Great British Seaside. It is not pretty. Bingo has never looked like this.
Marcel’s control of his audience is like that of Stewart Lee. And I have no higher praise than that. He uses silence like a sex toy and he is ruthless in his rule of the hour. The speed of his wit is impressive. And what he does is wit, not just come-backs. Bravo, monsieur. Nous sommes tres heureuses de vous voir encore.
Until 28 August. Today 9:30pm