Brighton Fringe Festival 2021
MARCEL LUCONT: NO. DIX
MARCEL LUCONT’S CABARET FANTASTIQUE
Marcel Lucont is back at Brighton Fringe with two shows this year with No. Dix & Cabaret Fantastique. TNC editor sat down with the elusive French icon to talk about his show, what audiences can expect and the benefits of Tinder.
Bonjour Monsieur Lucont, thanks for talking to TNC, how have you been keeping during these rather strange Covid times?
It’s technically “bonsoir” at the hour I am answering these questions, but you weren’t to know that.
Strange times of course, fortunately, I have spent a lot of those times by myself. I now have a more complete understanding of why so many people come to see my shows - I am superb company.
During lockdown did you develop any bad habits that have been hard to break?
Having told me I would never sleep with a neighbour, I must confess that when a mysterious, flirtatious new one moved in, a combination of solitude, curiosity, and insistence ensured that rule was ripped from the book. “Never shit on your own doorstep,” they say. And when she insisted I did that, it had to end. Some fetishes will simply never appeal to me.
What does it mean for you to be back at 2021 Brighton Fringe with 2 shows?
Mostly, it means double the money. I have been away from the festival for some time, so I felt I should give as much Marcel as possible.
What is it about live audiences that excite you so much?
They are so much more responsive than deceased ones. Of course, I cannot guarantee everybody will make it through. Remarkably in my career, I have only had three instances of audience members perishing from laughter. The possibility of it occurring again at any future show still holds a thrill for me. And for them, what a way to go.
Tell me a little bit about No. Dix & Marcel Lucont's Cabaret Fantastique, what can we expect?
“No. Dix” is my tenth show, as if it wasn’t glaringly obvious from the title. It features louche poetry and chansons of somehow an even higher quality than previous shows, but this time paired with a live band. Plus my valuable musings on life, love, sex, death, religion, and décor.
“Cabaret Fantastique” is my late-night spectacular with hand-picked guests, so you know they will not be shit. I will also be sharing some supreme sex poetry and chansons of mine written during the lockdown. The show straddles the midnight hour and I am curious if a little terrified to see what kind of audience this may attract.
So these shows will be very different affairs but you should come to at least both of them.
What has been the biggest updates you've made to No. Dix?
I have adapted a song to make it more bleak, removed any suggestions that Brexit may not be as bad as was expected, and I have sadly had to cut the orgy as the finale, despite lengthy negotiations with the venue.
"While my critique of society and its conventions has certainly become more refined over the years, this is my first memory of achieving laughter from a raised platform..."
What are the biggest Pros about Tinder (it must really be a fountain of creative inspiration)?
While I have no problem with flicking women left and right, this is usually something I practice after meeting them in person. The realm of online dating is an alien terrain to me. How can a frenzied tapping of messages ever compare to calligraphic missives on a scented paper delivered to a lover’s door? How can the sending of a poorly-lit “dick pic” ever be in the league of a dramatically shaded etching of one’s genitals placed into a potential lover’s handbag?
I suppose one can at least judge a person’s use of grammar before meeting them, but this is the only “pro” I can see myself.
With shows like this are you always tweaking them?
Yes, a new show is like a new lover - a little tweaking keeps things interesting (for you and for those watching), but the ending remains more or less the same.
Where did your passion for performance come from?
The passion is a two-way one. I was performing even as a baby, mocking the idiotic sounds made by the adults staring down at me by repeating them in a sarcastic tone, a performance which they enjoyed without fail. I feel this was the starting point of what I do today.
What was your first time up on stage and does it ever get easier walking out in front of an audience?
I am told that at the age of 2 I strolled onto the stage at the christening of a relative and defecated loudly, the acoustics of the church really amplifying my performance. While my critique of society and its conventions has certainly become more refined over the years, this is my first memory of achieving laughter from a raised platform, divisive though it may have been (I believe it ended one marriage that day).
I still stroll to the stage with the same level of confidence and I am certain that my first “routine” of mine would still undoubtedly entertain many a British audience.
What has been the best advice you've been given?
"Life is one big orgy... there are pricks and arseholes everywhere you look but just get on with it and enjoy yourself."
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow performer?
Perhaps take some time off. Since many venues have closed their doors the number of opportunities is somewhat diminished.
And finally, 3 words that best describe your show?
Probably sold out.