Words by Gabriella McVeigh
Marcel Blanch-de Wilt is sugar and spice and all things nice. Up at the top of the stairs in ‘The Nook’ at The Producers, I felt a giddy excitement as though I were sneaking in somewhere I was not allowed.
I sat in a corner smiling like a child seeing The Wiggles play live and I was thrilled. Right from the entering the room Marcel was amusing the crowd and they were laughing before the door had closed. Marcel’s show was nostalgic, but with the edge that the truth always brings to memories. However, his comedy is never cruel, it sits on the line between reality and sentimentality. It cut to the heart, and as he began stories about his wedding and childhood I fell under a wistful haze as strongly as if they were my own.
Marcel manages to trip and catch himself, I am never completely sure if things are planned or if he is thinking aloud between anecdotes. He runs with ideas without needing to bail himself out. His comedy has a flow to it that is as consistent as it is surprising. There is never a lag in laughter or an awkward silence; the crowd is always with Marcel for the ride. He is quick to work with the audience, but gets back on track with equal agility, skipping like a stone on the water, but never sinking.
It is easy to see why so many people recommended this new show. Having missed out on his 2015 show Death of a Dancer and again for PLAY in 2016, I knew I had to make a special effort not to let ‘The Best Man’ pass me by on the rollercoaster Adelaide Fringe always seems to be. This performance is personal. It is a reflection on his life and of how the people in it, or absent from it, have lead him to be the person he is now—and it is beautiful.
Marcel managed to truly captivate everyone with finesse and charm. “There’ll be whimsy”, he told us all, with a cheeky smile worthy of a trademark—and there was. Watching his comedy is like watching your favourite childhood movie, a few of which he will probably mention during the set. In between tales of being bullied and his single mum being a badass, he dances and mimes around the small room, singing a surprisingly good tune more than once. He reads snippets of the speech made by his best man and reveals photos of himself and his matching double denim brothers, until he gradually weaves his way back to the start.
Marcel Blanch-de Wilt: The Best Man is running until the end of the Adelaide Fringe on March 19, before moving on to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. This show is absolutely worth your time and Marcel is even more deserving of your praise. As I stood back waiting to leave, I watched him thank every person for being there and knew that, this year, Marcel is “succeeding to catch a dream”, and if you see his show you will understand exactly what I mean.