The magical, dusky venue that is the Assembly Elegance Tent provided the perfect atmosphere for the night-time revels of Marcel Lucont’s Cabaret Fantastique.
Our host appeared, elegantly dressed with a glass of ‘vin rouge’ in his right hand, playing into the stereotype of a lethargic, rude and quite sexy Frenchman, and playing into it well. His set blended funny slapstick noises so prevalent in French comedy, with sardonic, faux-philosophising, with relentless anti-English propaganda. Highlights include every time he picked on an Australian woman in the first row – who he deemed as ‘the most easy’ – to be the recipient of his charming, misogynistic approaches, one in the form of a poetry recital.
We were first treated to a set by Simon Coronel, an ‘International Illusionist’ who recently won ‘Most original close-up act’ at FISM World Championships. Coronel’s not your average magician - without all the razzmatazz, he’s a down-to-earth easy-talker and a comfortable performer.
‘Tumble Circus’ was a real spectacle accompanied by some very pretty jewellery box music in the background. It consisted of two acrobats - a bumbling sort of man and a very elfin woman - literally tumbling over each other and sustaining quite incredible postures with seeming effortlessness. It was as if they were re-enacting a relationship's ups and downs in their routine, and a pillow was even comically stuffed up the woman's top to suggest pregnancy and what that does to couples. It was comedy, physical theatre, interpretive dance and acrobatics all in one act.
Our last act was ‘Cabaret Whore’, a French cabaret singer whose chosen persona for the night was Edith Piaf’s abandoned friend ‘The Frumpy Pigeon’. She belted out a song about words that have crossed the Anglo-French border, for example ‘flip-flop’ and ‘raison d'être’. The comedy was mild but her voice was pretty mind-blowing.
This is an enchanting show. If you’re looking for something to do on a Friday night out with friends or loved ones, this will definitely add a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the proceedings.