If you’re looking for a flawlessly-polished show that move ever forward in a steady and predictable way, this isn't the comedian you want to see. If you like highly cerebral wit and thoughtful topic choices, this isn’t the comedy show for you. But if you like random streams of thought that go absolutely everywhere and nowhere at the same time, colourful imagery to tantalise your imagination, and conversations and heckles from the crowd making up a large proportion of the show’s content – Ross Noble is definitely your guy.
One can never be quite sure what is currently happening in a Ross Noble gig. There’s no order, no overarching story, no direction – it’s as though Noble is having a drink with you in a pub and has a lot of thoughts in his brain that need to escape. He himself describes the planning of his shows as, "About four words on a piece of scrap paper". One poor woman in the crowd seemed to be unaware of his style and called out a few times for him to "Get on with it". Dear madam – we are beyond the rabbit hole and you know not where you are.
The set of Humournoid was an absolutely glorious replica of Noble’s face, maybe ten-metre-tall, that splits apart as the curtain drops to reveal the glowing cables of cybernetic internals. Noble begins the show by chatting to audience members and mixing in observations of Adelaide. Of particular interest to him were the new lime scooters dotting the city landscape – if it’s ever been your dream to see a grown man expertly mime using a scooter, get around this show.
My favourite aspect of Noble’s style of comedy is that, through the chaos and spontaneity, he always remembers to come back to stories that tangents have led him away from. In long-form stand-up it can be difficult to remember where you are and where you’ve been while you’re simultaneously talking to the crowd and responding to hecklers. Having performed since he was fifteen, Noble is obviously a master. He consistently refers back to gags or points made earlier in the show, incorporating them into current dialogue. This helps to provide some aspect of continuity where there is otherwise only a stream of consciousness.
The show is one part storytelling, two parts surreal nonsense. There were a few areas of the show that fell a little short for me and even I was thinking it’d be nice if he ‘got on with it’. But maybe that just makes me more the fool for not understanding who was performing. There is enough in this show for everyone – if one gag falls short, another will easily have you laughing out loud.
Noble very obviously loves what he does and how he does it – it’s a pleasure to watch and participate in. I would recommend everyone experience his energy at least once in their life.
Humournoid plays at the Thebarton Theatre until 16th March. Tickets can be purchased here.