Star rating: **
Ruislip Golf Club
West Ruislip HA4
Sunday 18th September 2016
In what can best be described as Ross Noble’s weird hour, like a mad pilot he took his audience on numerous flights of fancy largely based on whatever grabbed his attention, be it audience members who caught his eye or the golf club venue. You could say whimsical comedy is very much par for the course with Mr Noble, but having seen a lot better from him over the years, I found this performance to be distinctly sub-par.
There were flashes of brilliance when he riffed about a woman drinking both wine and water or the quality of the shoes and clothes she was wearing. Similarly the catchphrase he created out of nothing was impressive, but there were too many lulls and it just seemed to be a bit all over the place, as if he was making it up as he went along. Maybe, hopefully, he was saving his best for his forthcoming national tour and decided just to do a whole set based on audience improvisation and banter. Which can be fine if it works. It’s much less appealing if it doesn’t. On this occasion the route to the ultimate goal of laughter was less clear, moreso when even Noble is probably just as in the dark as the audience as to if and where the punch lines will arrive.
Some evidence of this was in the flagrant use of mobile phones by two audience members sitting not more than 3 rows from the front! One was checking up on his babysitter (which lead to some brilliant, innovative jokes) and another, even more weirdly was texting her flatmate about the laundry! I think the mundanity of this put his nose out of joint somewhat. To think that in just a one hour show people couldn’t forget about their ordinary home life and put away their phones. Maybe it was a reflection on their interest levels in the show, but still very rude and uncalled for all the same, especially in clear sight of the performer. Perhaps Dave Chappelle was onto something when he banned all mobile phones from his London shows two weeks ago.
@ Tiemo Talk of the Town
Ross Noble – Brain Dump tour starts on 27th September and continues until 17th December 2016.