MARCEL LUCONT’S WHINE LIST
Alexis Dubus’ creation, Marcel Lucont, is everyone’s idea of the archetypal French pseudo-intellectual, convinced of the superiority of all things Gallic, supercilious, sarcastic, self-aggrandising and lots of other adjectives beginning with ‘s’. He strolls onstage, late, with an arrogant gesture or two to encourage the audience to give the applause he considers his due; before drawling softly into the microphone while sipping a glass of wine. And so launches an endless series of sardonic put-downs of everything British, indeed everything non-Gallic, with every nuance perfect: the eye-rolling, the raised eyebrow, the sideways glance. The ‘whine list’ in question is composed from an audience survey done in advance with a questionnaire handed out on entry, so that he can pick out audience members individually by name and humiliate them in suitably condescending fashion. This interspersed with readings from his ‘memoirs’, and even a filmed critique from the Gallic perspective of the shortcomings of the British seaside; all of it interrupted only by hysterical audience laughter. The whole is a gloriously hilarious example of character comedy at its highly-skilled best. Magnifique.
John Christopher Wood