Marcel and The Art of Laughter
Closed 2h 15m
Marcel and The Art of Laughter

Marcel and The Art of Laughter NYC Reviews and Tickets

(57 Reviews)
Members say
Delightful, Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Masterful

About the Show

Theatre for a New Audience presents this double bill of comic one acts. 'Marcel': a poignant two-hander about the collision of clowning and mortality, and 'The Art of Laughter': a comedy about comedy.

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Member Reviews (57)

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127 Reviews | 24 Followers
Delightful, Clever, Absorbing, Funny, Enchanting

See it if You are a fan of Clowning. You want to Laugh like crazy while also getting a little existential.

Don't see it if You do not like comedies. You need strong plots to interest you.

289 Reviews | 92 Followers
Absorbing, Hilarious, Masterful, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You like physical comedy and clowning as a theatrical art by Two wonderful performers.

Don't see it if You want a regular stage play. This is totally different. But if you wanna laugh hard and loud give it a chance.

141 Reviews | 27 Followers
Clever, Delightful, Absorbing, Hilarious, Original

See it if You love physical comedy elevated above slapstick and done with intelligence

Don't see it if You only like theater with a linear plot line or really dislike physical comedy

93 Reviews | 16 Followers
Poetic, Smart, Excellent acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you appreciate effortless physical acting and flawless professionalism. Houben and Magni are magnificent.

Don't see it if you have no interest in acting techniques, movement, commedia dell'arte, the relationship of bodies in space.

452 Reviews | 96 Followers
Clever, Enchanting, Hilarious, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if You like to laugh and want to see two Master craftsmen show you how it is done. One is an amazing clown act, the other is a master class.

Don't see it if You don't like to laugh, don't like shows that don't necessarily have an understandable ending, or don't enjoy the breaking of the 4th wall

748 Reviews | 237 Followers
Delightful, Funny, Thought-provoking, Enchanting, Heartwarming

See it if Marcel: aging performer tries to pass an existential test about nothing. Art of L: how loss of dignity underlies humor. Wonderful stuff.

Don't see it if You are not interested in physical humor plus some underlying pathos and meaning.

545 Reviews | 136 Followers
Classic clowning, Master class in laughter, Delightful, Masterful

See it if mastery of the audience laugh mechanism, gentle human comedy, classic mime & clowning can hold your interest for 2 hours

Don't see it if physical comedy. non-verbal storytelling, European clowns, class on why we laugh, are not appealing to you

62 Reviews | 10 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Masterful

See it if you enjoy pantomime, European clown or silent films and a story that requires you to use your own imagination.

Don't see it if you want a straightforward storyline or a lot of dialogue. Don't stay for the second half if you hate learning how to be comedic.

Critic Reviews (13)

The New York Times
November 1st, 2017

"’Marcel’ and ‘The Art of Laughter’ are more amusing and instructive than hilarious. Your gut will remain unbusted...'Marcel': Though many bits are delightfully imaginative, others cross the whimsy line and become cloying...'Art': In the manner of a professor studding a seminar with demonstrations, Houben shows that he can manipulate our laughter as easily as Marcel manipulated the bowler hat earlier...Houben’s astounding mimetic skill is not just math, it’s showmanship."
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Time Out New York
November 1st, 2017

“In ‘Marcel’, Magni strives to surmount inane barriers to success, his taskmaster seems determined to keep raising the bar. While this business is not always funny, Magni’s charm keeps it from being tiresome...The show perks up when Houben takes the stage in his ‘The Art of Laughter’...He embarks on a practicum of fumbles and pratfalls; his minutely calibrated body language is brilliant.”
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Lighting & Sound America
November 2nd, 2017

"The performances are elegantly minimal; there isn't a single excess gesture. Even when the action turns relatively frantic, you feel that both are totally in control -- almost relaxed -- as they practice their own personal brand of mayhem. 'Marcel' and 'The Art of Laughter' offer something very rare -- humor in its purest form, presented with no small intelligence and cockeyed goodwill. It is all but guaranteed to give you a lift."
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November 2nd, 2017

"'Marcel' is an hour-long mediation on time and aging...Whether it’s all actually funny and profound is dependent on one’s taste. It’s possible to be in hysterics or bored due to the length...'The Art of Laughter' is a droll lecture superbly delivered by Houben...For an hour, he commandingly exhibits his sensational movement skills and his effortless and highly effective comic timing...This second portion of the show is supreme entertainment."
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Theater Pizzazz
November 1st, 2017

“In 'Marcel,' an extended…vaudeville sketch, the audience is treated as both Magni's friend and…his enemy…His character…is a deceptively hapless everyman bumbling with masterful aplomb to hide the infirmities of age…Poignant and well done as it is, it's not quite up to the imaginative level of 'Old Hats'…'The Art of Laughter'…is a fascinating, hour-long monologue by Houben, which begins slowly and soon enough ensnares you in what is closer to a lecture-demonstration than a 'play.'”
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November 4th, 2017

“A study in contrasts...Many in the audience found 'Marcel' breathtakingly funny. For those of us who couldn't figure out what was so funny about 'Marcel,' Houben attempted to provide the answer in 'The Art of Laughter'...There is something quite American about their humor. This is probably because slapstick has a unique language that does not entail words...Some people find this language very funny. Some don't.”
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Stage Buddy
November 9th, 2017

"The two are quite charming and playful...'Marcel' is pretty silly and slapstick, particularly with a joke involving a bottle of water, but becomes rather poignant...If 'Marcel' demonstrates the pair’s predilection for pratfalls, 'Laughter' deconstructs them. A 'master class' in how to elicit laughter...The sequence of the two plays is brilliant...Masterful creations of physical performance from two seasoned artists. The hilarious antics of Houben and Magni are a joy to watch."
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Off Off Online
November 5th, 2017

"'Marcel' has a particular European sensibility that’s engaging, offbeat and sometimes strangely familiar...Although there is speaking in the piece, the primary thrust is physical business rendered with precise comic timing...More often the comic business just arises spontaneously...The end has some unexpected poignancy...Both men are connoisseurs at what makes an audience laugh, and the whole production is both informative and full of delights."
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