NZICF 2014: My Top Picks!

NZICF 2014It’s that time of the year again for all us Kiwi comedy geeks – the New Zealand International Comedy Festival!  As I am on the other side of the world, sadly I will not be attending this year – my first in since forever! – but rest assured I will be supporting, reading reviews, tweeting, etc from afar.

Another top line up this year as to be expected with the usual suspects but also some new faces!  For those who are getting overwhelmed by all the shows that are on offer, here are my recommendations (in no particular order):

Chris Martin - NZICF 20141. Chris Martin

Chris’ warped perspective on many things in life and his great comedic sense is an excellent formula for a fantastic, laughs aplenty hour of comedy.

I went to his Edinburgh Fringe show last year and thoroughly enjoyed myself – check out my Broadway Baby review here.

Chris will be performing at the Loft at Q on 25 & 26 April and from 29 April to 3 May.  Click here for more details and to book tickets.

Markus Birdman - NZICF 20142. Markus Birdman

Markus is an extremely sharp and engaging comedian and a captivating raconteur.  His anecdotes are skillfully structured with pitch-perfect comedic timing and will have you in stitches.

Check out what I thought of this same show when I went to see it at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe here.

Markus is at The Classic on 25 & 26 April and from 28 April to 3 May.  He is then performing at the San Francisco Bath House in Wellington from 6 to 10 May before he’s off on a nationwide tour as part of the Comedy Convoy!  Click here for more details and to book tickets to his solo show.

Gordon Southern - NZICF 20143. Gordon Southern

Gordon is the best comedian to go see if you are after comedy that is witty, fast-paced, energetic and just so incredibly feel-good.

Last year’s show was such a joy to watch and one of my favorites from both last year’s festival and the Edinburgh Fringe – here’s my review of the latter show.

Gordon will be at The Vault at Q from 6 to 10 May and The Fringe Bar in Wellington from 13 to 17 May.  Click here for more details and to book tickets – also features my contributor The Laughing Kiwi’s review of this year’s show which is currently at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Jason Byrne - NZICF 20144. Jason Byrne

Jason is born to be on the stage and to do comedy – he is an absolute master at his craft.  His style of comedy is a little bit silly, very raucous and just bloody entertaining.

I was lucky enough to secure a review ticket to see his show – check out my Broadway Baby review here.

Jason is hosting the Comedy Gala on 24 April and then performing at the Rangatira at Q from 25 to 27 April – only three days so get in quick!  Click here for more details and to book tickets.

Marcel Lucont - NZICF 20145. Marcel Lucont

Everyone’s favorite Frenchman is back on NZ shores!  Sardonic, deliciously narcissistic and oh-so-dashing, Monsieur Lucont is a must-see.

The last solo show I attended was in 2012 when he was last in Auckland – read my review here.

Marcel will be gracing us with his presence at the Foxglove Ballroom in Wellington from 29 April to 3 May before his Auckland run in Rangatira at Q from 14 to 17 May.  Click here for more details and to book tickets.

James Acaster - NZICF 20146. James Acaster

James fast gained popularity during last year’s festival and all the buzz and rave reviews are true.  His material is sharp, witty and highly entertaining.

Here’s my review and if you need more convincing here is The Laughing Kiwi’s review who only just saw him at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

James will be at The Classic on 25 & 26 April and from 28 April to 5 May (not 4th).  His season sold out in a flash last year so get your tickets early!  For more details and to book tickets, click here.

Urzila Carlson - NZICF 20147. Urzila Carlson

Though she hails from South Africa, NZ has very much claimed her!  Urzila is extremely funny and a top notch comedian with a natural gift of the gab.

Check out what I thought of her show last year here.

Urzila is performing at the Rangatira at Q from 1-3 May and then at the San Francisco Bath House in Wellington from 6 to 10 May.  For more details and to book tickets, click here.

Dan Nightingale - NZICF 20148. Dan Nightingale

Dan’s affable nature and conversational style teamed with his hilarious stories and self-deprecating humor make for a genuinely enjoyable hour of comedy.

Here’s my review of the show he brought to last year’s festival.

Dan is performing at The Basement from 6 to 10 May and then at the Foxglove Ballroom in Wellington from 13 to 17 May.  For more details and to book tickets, click here.

Tom Binns - NZICF 20149. Tom Binns as Ian D. Montfort

For something a little different, Tom’s unique brand of “comedium” comedy is a good option.  He is a talented and adept performer and whether you are a believer or a skeptic, I daresay you will leave impressed.

I went to see him last year and was both thoroughly entertained and amazed – have a read here.

Tom as his alter ego Ian will be at the Foxglove Ballroom in Wellington from 6-10 May and then the Loft at Q from 13 to 17 May.  For more details and to book tickets, click here.

Stephen K Amos - NZICF 201410.  Stephen K Amos

Stephen is an accomplished veteran in the industry and if you haven’t already seen him, you should!  He is extremely good at what he does, garnering laughs effortlessly with his feel-good style of comedy.

Here is my review of last year’s show.

Stephen is at the Rangatira at Q on 25 & 26 April and from 29 April to 3 May before doing one show at The Opera House in Wellington on 4 May.  For more details and to book tickets, click here.

Other Recommendations!

While I have not had the pleasure of seeing him do a solo show I would also totally recommend Stuart Goldsmith.  I saw him at last year’s Comedy All Stars where he was compère and in the brief times he came on stage, he delivered some really good material.  I also got to see him host his critically acclaimed comedy podcast at the Edinburgh Fringe which was excellent – here’s my review.

If you want more bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with ensemble shows as they are like the ideal comedic tasting platter!  I would definitely recommend the Comedy Gala; it is quite pricey but well worth it and will get you pumped for the coming weeks of laughs.  There is also the 5 Star Comedy Preview, the Comedy All Stars (this year there are two – #1 and #2) and The Big Show (in the CBD and at the BMC).

For something a little different, Le Comique is a fun variety comedy show that is a great option if you have more eclectic taste.  And finally, for that last comedy festival fix, Last Laughs is a fantastic way to end the festival on a high.

So there you go, my fellow Kiwis – my humble recommendations based on what I have gone to see and enjoyed.  Now get booking and get excited for (in my opinion) one of the best few weeks in New Zealand’s live entertainment calendar!

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The Pitchfork Disney: A Grim and Gothic Fairytale

The Pitchfork DisneyFilled with disturbing imagery that you would only find in your nightmares, The Moving Theatre Company’s adaptation of Philip Ridley’s debut play is a visually stimulating and wondrously visceral stage production.  Contrary to the title, this is definitely not a Disney fairytale.

The Pitchfork Disney plunges you in to the grim and fantastical world of Hayley and Presley Stray, a pair of adult twins who, in the wake of an unexplained apocalyptic event and the mysterious disappearance of their parents, have been living in solitary confinement.  The siblings live a very childlike existence, surviving off chocolate and narcotics in a derelict and abandoned space where they share stories under a tent that contains a constructed tapestry of their dreams and fears.

Under Sophie Roberts’ accomplished direction, this contemporary classic with a macabre twist is brought to life by an extremely talented and absolutely stellar cast.  Michelle Blundell and Todd Emerson play Hayley and Presley with staggering conviction; Michelle perfectly embodies the easily anxious, childlike innocence of the character while Todd’s charismatic stage presence makes him an effortless and captivating storyteller.

Leon Wadham’s portrayal of the sinister Cosmo Disney is unnervingly believable – the subtleties in his facial expressions in particular make his portrayal of the sick and twisted nightclub entertainer truly terrifying and sent shivers up my spine.  Sam Snedden rounds up the cast as the frightening Pitchfork Cavalier and although he only gets limited time on the stage, he still manages to invoke a formidable presence with startling effect.

Visually, the set (which goes beyond the performance space – a brilliant touch!) is impressive – an artistic masterpiece.  The stunning and fascinating set design by Daniel Williams along with the superb sound and lighting by Sean Lynch and Jennifer Lal work in perfect tandem to create a genuinely eerie atmosphere.  In this dreamlike alternate reality, you easily forget the real world and subsequently, like the twins, begin to fear what lies beyond.

The Pitchfork Disney is a deeply poetic, deliciously dark and hauntingly surreal theatrical experience.  Prepare to be swept away and completely immersed in this chilling and gripping tale.

The Whimsical Banana rates The Pitchfork Disney: 5/5 chocolate-coated bananas!

The Pitchfork Disney is at the Loft at Q until June 29th.  Click here for the full synopsis and to book tickets.

TITUS: Shakespeare On Acid

Titus CupcakeRevenge is a dish best served cold.  Unless it is sixteenth century Rome, to which it would be best served freshly baked.

New theatre company Fractious Tash presents a new take on Shakespeare’s most violent work and it is both a gripping and terrifying experience.  Dark and gritty with a generous serving of bloodshed, mutilation and even cannibalism, this intense adaptation is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Titus tells the story of Roman army general Titus Andronicus and how he finds himself in a twisted, vicious cycle of revenge and murder with Tamora, the Queen of the Goths.  Under the masterful direction of Benjamin Henson, this five hundred year old macabre tragedy gets a contemporary makeover with brilliant use of pop culture, tongue-in-cheek creative choices and a hauntingly superb atmospheric set.

In contrast the dialogue is still delivered in the authentic Shakespearean style which does take a while to get used to initially but the story is easy enough to sink your teeth in to which is a credit to the well crafted script and also the exceptional performances by the all-male cast.  All recent graduates from Unitec, these actors are skilled performers, each embodying their characters effortlessly with raw authenticity and great conviction.

Titus

Paul Lewis is well cast as the titular character, brilliantly conveying Titus’ unraveling insanity whilst the villainous Tamora is performed with staggering credibility by Cole Jenkins.  I also found Eli Mathewson’s portrayal of the ill-fated Lavinia particularly stirring.  The actors as a collective are a well-oiled machine, perfectly complementing one another and feeding off each others’ energy.

Stylistically, this play is a visual treat – kudos to the creative team for an outstanding effort.  The lighting and chilling sound design work well in further enhancing the spooky-looking set and these elements all come together as one to create a genuinely scary and unsettling atmosphere.

Titus is a slick and impressive production with a stellar cast and is really Shakespeare as you have never seen before.  It is brutal and shocking, visually arresting and emotionally charged – a truly immersive and visceral theatrical experience.

The Whimsical Banana rates Titus: 5/5 bananas! 

Titus is at the Loft at Q until June 8th – click here for tickets.

NZICF 2013: Tom Binns as Ian D Montfort

Ian D Montfort A medium who is also a comedian – now there’s an unlikely pairing.  Tom Binns proves this is perfectly possible with his excellent and convincing portrayal of alter ego Ian D Montfort, the spirit “comedium”.

You are immediately drawn to Ian from the get-go as he is just such a warm and affable character.  He kicks off the show by ironically poking fun at other mediums and telling us he is not like them, that you do not have to be bereaved to be at his show as he only delivers messages from people you don’t know.  This humorous perspective of his ability coupled with his camp disposition is part of his charm and what makes the show so enjoyable to watch.

Throughout the hour, Ian engages with the crowd and makes predictions with staggering accuracy through the usual divinatory means – astrology, tarot cards, numerology.  While I don’t doubt some of his mind-reading methods must involve some form of skilled trickery, there were some things he managed to guess correctly which he couldn’t possibly have known.  I still don’t know how he does it and I don’t want to know as it’s all part of the magic and brilliance of this show!

There are also times when he does get it wrong but he quickly recovers, simply amending the reading to suit so it turns out he is still right.  For example he would guess that someone’s car is black and when they say no he would say matter-of-factly without a skipping a beat that it is indeed black…at night.  His quick wit and sharp responses remind us that Ian is also quite the adept comedian.

Skeptic or not, there’s no denying that Ian D Montfort is an accomplished and gifted performer and what he pulls off in the show will truly astound you.  This is a show you will have to see to believe, and what you will see will baffle and amaze.

The Whimsical Banana rates Ian D Montfort: 5/5 bananas!

Ian D Montfort will be making predictions for 2 more nights at the Loft at Q.  Click here for tickets.

NZICF 2013: Urzila Carlson – The Long Flight To Freedom

Urzila Carlson

Urzila Carlson has been a part of the local comedy scene for a while now but I believe she hit the comedic jackpot last year with her now famous catchphrase “don’t go falling in love now!”.  Since then she has become an undeniable local favorite.

Don’t let her South African accent throw you; she now calls Aotearoa home and we have been more than happy to return the favor, proudly embracing her as our own.  The Long Flight To Freedom, put simply, is an autobiographical recount of how Urzila came to be in New Zealand.

Throughout the hour, she shares candidly a collection of comical stories that span from birth to childhood and finally to present time.  Dreaded family holidays at the farm, a memorable family team building exercise involving a resident mouse, tips on dealing with noisy neighbors and her genius plan on disciplining her soon-to-be-born “Jesus baby” – Urzila bares all.  Her casual delivery and laidback style made it feel more like a conversation among friends which suited the narrative perfectly.

There is no doubt that Urzila was born to do comedy.  From start to finish she had the audience hooked on her every word.   Her ability to garner laughs from the crowd so effortlessly coupled with her skill in delivering material so naturally that it feels completely unscripted is a real gift and mark of a brilliant comedian.

This is an entertaining hour of getting-to-know-Urzila that will bring endless laughs.  Everybody needs to see this extremely talented lady live – here’s hoping for an encore, and in a bigger venue!

The Whimsical Banana rates The Long Flight To Freedom: 5/5 bananas!

Urzila Carlson has already sold out her entire season but you can still see her in action as co-host at Le Comique this Sunday May 12th – for more details and tickets to this event, click here.

Tell Me On A Sunday: A One Woman Musical

Tell Me On A Sunday will not be a hard sell for those already acquainted with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work but I do feel this musical production is particularly accessible and one that can be easily enjoyed by all.  Directed by David Coddington, this one woman musical is performed by a cast of one and made up of a one-act song cycle which showcases music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black.

We follow an ordinary English girl from Muswell Hill who journeys to the United States in search of love.  Her romantic aspirations starts off in the Big Apple, then to Hollywood and eventually back to Manhattan.  The story of her quest for love which turn out to be more of romantic misadventures is told entirely through song as a monologue but also in the form of letters to Mum.

Carly Binding, contemporary pop singer and songwriter, makes her musical debut and is perfectly cast as the “woman of the hour”.  She commands the attention of the audience effortlessly with not only her beautiful tone and stunning range but charismatic personality as well.

Her performance was simply mesmerizing; she is both an accomplished vocalist and gifted storyteller.  She moves from one song to the next with great ease and I thought she interpreted the songs remarkably; with honesty and heartfelt conviction.  My favorite performance of the night was Unexpected Song – the emotion she delivers in this song is incredible and sent chills up my spine.

The accompanying costume changes to signify the passing of time were executed well and added a dynamic layer to the performance.  Carly made full use of the set which is minimal but beautiful with everything on stage having a purpose.  Mention must also be made on the excellent lighting design which set the mood and ambiance perfectly.

Musical director Robin Kelly once again doesn’t disappoint, working his magic with an extremely talented band who bring the score to life and support Carly’s vocal performance beautifully.  The three backing singers also added great depth to the overall sound; their harmonies had just enough restraint and blended well with Carly’s vocals.

Overall this is an outstanding, top notch production which ticked all the boxes for me and left me wanting more.  If you enjoy musical theatre, this one’s for you.

The Whimsical Banana rates Tell Me On A Sunday: 5/5 bananas

Tell Me On A Sunday is presented by The Real Theatre Company and is playing at the Loft at Q until 24 November.  To buy tickets and to get a taste of the music, click here.

This review is also featured on the Q website.

Review: Nuclear Family

With the world becoming increasingly more mobile, immigration has become a significant part of life for many individuals and families.  New Zealand has definitely become more of a multicultural hub as a result of this.

Penned by Desiree Gezentsvey, Nuclear Family offers a fresh perspective on the “joys of immigration” through the eyes of a group of Venezuelan and Soviet Jewish immigrants the day before the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.  It explores the emotional journey experienced by immigrants as they acclimatize to life in a new country – adapting to cultural differences, learning the local slang, struggling with identity issues and establishing a new career path.

Zina moved to Aotearoa seven years ago and while she has become quite settled in her new home she still has ties to her home country, Ukraine, where her children still reside.  Abi, a friend, has recently immigrated but already longs to return to Venezuela which doesn’t sit well with Alec, her husband.

At the center of it all is Zina’s shrewd and charming Babushka who doesn’t approve of her granddaughter’s manipulative ways and who’s sole concern is the promise she made to Zina’s late parents.  Collectively they all question the existence of freedom, choice and control in their lives as immigrants.

The most remarkable thing about this production is it is performed solely by one person.  Yael Gezentsvey skillfully and effortlessly portrays a dozen characters throughout the hour – each completely fleshed out with their own distinct accent, voice and mannerisms.  Apart from the core characters, some of the other personalities we get to meet are a friendly Maori neighbor, a playful child, a typical Kiwi bloke and sleazy Mr Potts.

Yael seamlessly switches between them all and although you may initially struggle to work out who’s who, you will quickly notice clear points of difference with each character.  This is truly a credit to and joined product of Yael’s impressive acting prowess and James Hadley’s vision and superb direction.

For me, I felt the underlying message that this story ultimately delivers is that everyone has an innate desire to belong somewhere.  It tackles the feeling of alienation and being torn in between two worlds that is often faced by immigrants, particularly if the family is divided.  This is also represented in the cleverly conceived set of two contrasting picket fences on opposing ends of the stage.

Nuclear Family is funny and gut-wrenching, riveting and moving, earnest and heartfelt.  It will speak to those who are immigrants themselves and will provide an eye-opening window into that life for those who aren’t.  It is a thought-provoking and exceptionally written piece performed flawlessly – a wonderful mother-daughter collaboration not to be missed.

The Whimsical Banana rates Nuclear Family:  5/5 bananas

Nuclear Family is playing at the intimate Loft at Q until 10 November.  It’s only a short season so get in quick!  For more information visit the Nuclear Family website and to buy tickets, click here.

This review is also featured on Keeping Up With NZ.

This review also appears on the Q website.

The Red Chair: Obsess + Confess

On entering the Loft at Q, I was immediately transported to some sophisticated piano bar in the heart of New York.  The mood lighting and theatrical fog created a dramatic effect and a sense of  mystery while the cabaret-style seating and gorgeous fairy lights served as the perfect backdrop for what was to come.  Expectations were definitely high and I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed in the slightest.

The Red Chair, under the superb direction of Aaron Tindell, is music theatre like no other.  Four characters – an older man, his cynical long-time lover, a younger guy skeptical about love and a younger woman with a troubled past – all share their stories candidly and emotively through song.

The songs – everything from Edith Piaf to Boy George – form a musical montage of the many romantic and sometimes obsessive emotions one experiences when dealing with love.  Every song transitions seamlessly to the next cultivating in a beautiful and colorful  journey of music which tackle an array of things – unrequited love, lust, jealousy and even a nervous breakdown.

What makes the show truly unique is how the performance is presented.  The red chair that is in the center of the room leads you to believe that that is where the “stage” is but there really isn’t a stage.  Instead the entire space is the stage with the performers freely roaming the room and mingling with audience members, even sitting at other specially lit red chairs that are placed at selected tables.

This blurring of the lines between the audience and the performer provides a very intimate and immersive theatre experience.  You find yourself having a more personal connection with the performers and because of the closeness in proximity, it does feel like you are a part of the performance as well.

I was blown away by the vocal prowess of each performer.  Andrew Laing’s vocals had a wonderful charm and storytelling quality to it that made him so easy to listen to.  Roz Turnbull effortlessly commanded your attention every time she sang.  What I loved most about her performance was the way she fully embodied the song, delivering not only a fantastic vocal but one with loads of personality too.

Melissa Nordhaus impressed me the most with her incredible vocal range and I loved the honest and heartfelt way she interpreted the songs.  My favorite of the four was Will Barling because of his silky tone and that beautiful vibrato.  His rendition of Petrified from the stage musical Taboo sent chills up my spine; my favorite number of the night, hands down.

The Red Chair was just spectacular and truly a magical experience, one I will not soon forget.  It is live music at its finest – a must for those who want to enjoy music theatre with a twist.  Exquisite performances, extraordinary storytelling through song, and an excellent band who bring it all together – huge hats off to Robin Kelly for providing the musical heartbeat to the show.

The Whimsical Banana rates The Red Chair: 5/5 bananas!

The Red Chair is a Dionysos production and is playing at the fabulous Q Theatre until 6th October.  To buy tickets, click here.

Thank you to Passion PR!

This review is also featured on Keeping up with NZ.

Review: Drowning in Veronica Lake

There’s just something about Hollywood in the 1940s that just oozes glamor.  Even though there was undeniably a dark side too, the 40s is still one of my favorite eras in American history.

If you are nodding in agreement, then you are going to absolutely adore Drowning in Veronica Lake, the fourth and latest production by Flaxworks.  A one (wo)man “tell all” show delivered as a monologue, Veronica Lake has come back to life to tell us about her steady rise to stardom which was then followed by her equally steady fall from grace.  She shares everything from the time she dined with the President to how she was sued by her own mother.  I thought the moments when she broke the Fourth Wall and addressed the audience directly was a great touch.

Alex Ellis portrays the sexy screen siren to perfection.  Her Old Hollywood drawl is true to the period and I felt she embodied the spirit of Veronica not just physically but emotionally as well.  While she is most definitely the star of the show, coming in at a very close second has got to be that stunning dress!  Sara Taylor and Elizabeth Whiting  really have to be commended for putting together such a gorgeous garment.

The dress plays a prominent role in the show, not just physically but metaphorically as well.  When you take your seat in the lovely-as-always Loft at Q, Veronica is already on the stage waiting and your eyes are immediately drawn to the dress which covers the entire stage.  As the narrative progresses and we start to see Veronica’s steady decline into drunken obscurity, we see the dress start to lose its shape and form too.  The symbolism of this is all the more powerful and effective due to the exceptionally paced narrative.

Criticized and stifled by her over-bearing mother before being treated the same way by the controlling Paramount Studios, we even see Veronica start to wrestle with the dress itself before eventually “drowning” in it.  I thought the dress being used as a metaphor of her being trapped in an industry where she struggled to be recognized for her talent and not just her “peek-a-boo bangs” was very clever.

Alex also momentarily goes off-character throughout the story to play other people in Veronica’s life, most notably her mother.  She does this seamlessly, switching between voices, accents, demeanor and even posture with lightning speed.  She performs essentially rooted in place for the entirety of the play but the well-timed use of light, sound and music to indicate a change in set and scene helped provide depth and “movement” to the show.

What makes this play extra special is the fact that it cannot really be considered a tribute to Veronica Lake, though it could easily be mistaken as one.  It does celebrate her legacy but the stories that are told are actually what was generated by the studio, the media and even Veronica herself during her time in the spotlight.  Many of these were suspicious and conflicting and we are reminded of this through the tongue-in-cheek nature of the script.

Drowning in Veronica Lake is dark, haunting, incredibly nostalgic and a must see, especially if you are a fan of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  The story of her life is both intriguing and tragic but sadly not unique.  This play provides a fascinating, “firsthand” insight into what happens on the other side of the fame and bright lights of Tinseltown.

The Whimsical Banana rates Drowning in Veronica Lake: 4/5 glamorous bananas!

Brilliantly written by Phil Ormsby and under the masterful direction of Simon Coleman, Drowning in Veronica Lake is playing at the fantastic Q Theatre until 1st September.  For more details and to book tickets, click here.  For a taste of Veronica, check out this video.

NZICF 2012 Review: Marcel Lucont in Gallic Symbol

From the moment he so skillfully, without missing a beat and cool as a cucumber, put a heckler in his place at last year’s Comedy Gala, I was converted a Marcel Lucont fan.

Brought to life by the brilliant British comedian Alexis Dubus, Marcel Lucont is a self-proclaimed flâneur, raconteur and bon-viveur.  He brings a rare stand up comedy masterpiece that is uncommonly low-energy but full of sharp wit and dry humor centered around his cynical observations as a proud French misanthropist and expert international lover.  He is an excellent wordsmith and is flawless when it comes to telling a story – impeccably timed and perfectly paced, his egotistical and deadpan but yet alluring delivery will have you hanging on his every word and laughing in all the right (and sometimes wrong!) places.

In his new show, Gallic Symbol, you can expect more exquisite sex poetry (this time of a “breasty” nature), his usual haughty grievances about most things (especially anything British) and so much more.  His opening piece, “50 actual ways to leave your lover” sets the tone of the show perfectly.  Why wouldn’t you choose to catapult yourself in to a sea of naked women as a way to leave your significant other?  Perfectly normal and not over the top at all.  Apart from reading from his “manual of a sex addict”, he also shares hilarious excerpts from the diary of his teenage self.  If there’s anything funnier than Marcel Lucont, it is quite possibly a teenage Marcel Lucont.

My personal favorite bit was his hilarious parody of British humor; his impersonation of a stuffy British man is scarily accurate albeit incredibly stereotypical!  I also really enjoyed the amusing “sex positions 101”-esque class he delivers near the end, complete with corresponding visuals on cue cards.  And of course, the grand finale!  Marcel’s debut rap performance.  Yes, rap.  Prepare to be impressed.  All I can say is – merde oui!

I had the pleasure of meeting Monsieur Lucont after the show and he is an absolute delight!  I also got to see him in action again on the weekend co-hosting Le Comique, a cabaret-style event showcasing alternative comedy.  Suffice it to say, he was in top form then too and this time with a whole bottle of wine in tow!  Unfortunately his solo shows have finished its run in both Auckland and Wellington but you still have a chance to catch him as part of the Comedy Convoy, touring nationwide between 14-26 May (details HERE).

He really is one of those acts that words just cannot do him justice – you really need to be there to experience it yourself.  The show is highly sexual (but never vulgar, though sometimes teetering very near it!) and full of the sardonic musings of a self-righteous, narcissistic Frenchman, but if you can get past that, you will not be disappointed!  His performance is just effortless and will keep you captivated from beginning to end.  He is not overtly funny to the point you find yourself laughing yourself to tears (or maybe you might!) but his instinctive use of combining dry humor, sharp wit and a lot of clever wordplay, all delivered at the opportune time, will no doubt have you laughing and thoroughly entertained.

The Whimsical Banana rates Gallic Symbol: 5/5 bananas (FANTASTIQUE show!)

 

See you next year, Marcel – merci beaucoup for the outstanding show and for the lovely message in your book (and you’re right – it is superb! 😉 )

If you would like to get to know more about Monsieur Lucont, check out his website: www.marcellucont.com.