Frank Foucault @ Paradise in the Vault

Frank Foucault's Desk is a tremendous thump of absurdism

Review by Thomas Hamill | 23 Aug 2019
  • Frank Foucault

Desk is an exceptionally well-crafted hour that starts with benign yet wonderfully bizarre scenes which gather conceptual momentum as the structure begins to pull at loose threads and grasp at meaning. Beckettian in nature, it delights and provokes in equal manner. 

Despite the austerely absurd premise on which the whole thing sits, the character of Frank Foucault engages the audience with delightful nonsense from early on, not trying to fool you into thinking it’s something it’s not. Simple gags are made the most of, sometimes descending into hysteria, but one which always has the audience on side.

Excerpts from a novel featuring James Corden on the eve of his chat show career are read throughout. This sits alongside Frank Foucault struggling to take himself seriously as a well thought of writer, breaking out into trails of nonsense and clowning. As the novel develops, so does the struggle within Foucault. What is benign at the start of the hour becomes crucial as the show continues, whilst the gradual clarification of the show’s purpose allows for thoughts to develop over time, making it all the more enjoyable.

Frank Foucault: DeskParadise in The Vault (The Annexe), until 25 Aug, 9.55pm, £5-8