Review: Marcel Lucont: Gallic Symbol, Underbelly, Cowgate (venue 61)

Those of us who have had the pleasure of Marcel Lucont know that it is something you do not forget in a hurry. I remember first being pleasured by Marcel in the back of a pub somewhere on the Free Fringe many years ago. I have never forgotten that night.

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Apart from anything else, the red wine stains have proved impossible to shift. Lucont and red wine go together like Lucont and women – he seems to have an endless supply of both.

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Lucont is everything you might expect from the quintessential Frenchman abroad – he despises our food, our culture, our accent and our soi-disant comedy. At one point in the show, Lucont does an impression of an “Eengleesh comeek”, whom he calls Jeremy Trousers, doing the five English jokes he knows. The jokes are appalling, of course. But I am struck with how much Lucont’s impression resembles Paul Foot.

Elsewhere, we get excerpts from Marcel’s teenage diary, a mine of glorious self-absorption, a cautionary tale of his childhood friend Guillaume, who died at his own hand … literally, the adventures of Maurice who can autofellate and the litany of gloom that is his recollection of his exchange visit to Coventry at the age of 16.

What was once a little bit of a one-note samba has grown into a marvellous, malevolent monster of a comedy character. Marcel’s views on improving New Zealand, the Jubilee and protesting are mordantly brilliant stuff and the moments he spends holding forth on children are worth the ticket price alone. Of course, Marcel is a creative and his adoring fans are treated to a few songs from his, sadly, hard to source album. Continental Breastfest is particularly catchy. Poetry, too, takes its place on the comedy gourmet carte du jour of Lucont’s show. We get some much needed advice on love (complete with illustrated cards) as Marcel reaches his climax with another lovely song. Don’t come in late and don’t come with a weak bladder – Marcel will rip you like the tender meat on a duck confit. And don’t leave early – you need to see a Frenchman fall from the skies.

Until 26 August. Today 10:25pm.