Frank Foucault: Desk (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Frank Foucault: Desk

High Hope Studio

Fan fiction and inner voices help drive this absurdist hour

On stage is a bell sat on a table, bearing an ominous inscription: 'only joke in the show bell'. It's not too much of a spoiler to confirm that this is indeed rung just the once during Desk. Frank Foucault (actually Welsh comedian Luke Smith) is an unapologetically absurd creation dressed in an improbably bulky formal suit. After an overextended entrance, he remarks that he looks 'smart', a word which he then repeats for an extraordinary length of time (although perhaps not quite long enough, depending on your tolerance for such comedy). Eventually his 'inner voice' urges him to read from his novel, a fan fiction biography of James Corden which proceeds to occupy Foucault for almost the entire piece.

With his grimacing face and tremulous voice, Foucault is an unsettling character, although his limited audience interaction is perfectly harmless and sometimes rather charming. And all the while that bell sits there like Chekhov's gun, teasing the solitary gag that it will come to herald. Events, such as they are, do come to some sort of crescendo, with a few surprisingly inventive routines towards the end. This is a show created to divide audiences, and it takes a brave performer to test crowds like this. He just about gets away with it.

Paradise in The Vault, until 25 Aug, 9.55pm, £8 (£5).

Frank Foucault: Desk

  • 3 stars

Frank Foucault and Shmuck Theatre Thump. James Corden hears a thump underneath his chat-show desk. Thump. It's the evening before the start of his American talk-show career. Thump. This is not a stand-up show. Thump. But it's written and created by my stand-up comedy persona. Thump. I understand that's confusing.

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