Run late to a Ross Noble show at your own risk. No matter whether you try boldly strutting through as if nothing was happening or attempting some weird hunched over jog – the man will notice. More than that, he’ll riff on your behaviour for a solid ten minutes, ultimately culminating in a mimed hunchback striptease to the tune of Tina Turner’s ‘Private Dancer’ (only it’s ‘Private Hunchback’ instead). As he frequently reminds us, Ross Noble shows reward two types of people – the punctual and those with a daft sense of humour.
No two Ross Noble shows are alike. He’s a master of improv comedy and will frequently tangent off into the strangest of domains. One moment he’s talking about a nasty case of chafing, another he’s motioning to a pile of imaginary penguins to the side of stage (everyone looks over and he laughs heartedly at our expense). Well, that was our show at least. Yours will likely be completely different.
Rumour is that Noble hits the stage with only four words on a piece of paper and the rest just comes from his surreal mind. That’s both the blessing and curse of what he does. Each show feels fresh and the chance that the show could head in any direction at any time is genuinely exciting. It’s like he’s playing free jazz with the absurd. This freewheeling approach unfortunately does lead to the occasional note that falls flat. Luckily such moments are often few and far between.
Where Noble really shines is his crowd-work. He frequently encourages the interaction of anyone willing to step up and get involved. Whether he’s battling multiple audience members over exactly what town they’re yelling at him (‘Toodyay’) or exploring what gifts had been left on the stage (a long-time tradition at Noble shows – this time a bag of fruit and a blu-ray copy of his film ‘Stitches’.. from Video-Ezy.. with a note asking ‘is it any good? We don’t have enough HDMI cables’). You can sense it’s an element of the show Noble gleefully looks forward to every night.
Noble has been a frequent Australian visitor for years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He’s currently on a whirlwind tour of the country – and even if you’ve missed him, make sure you see him next time around. You’re guaranteed two full hilarious hours of inventive and unruly absurd comedy. Just make sure you run on time…