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Review: Ross Noble – Brain Dump

Adelaide Fringe

Brain Dump is an ideal title for this show as it perfectly describes Ross Noble’s mastery of stream-of-consciousness improvisation. ★★★★½

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The fact that he can keep up the flow for two hours is impressive in itself, but the material is pure larrikin absurdity and the audience loves him for it.

The genius of Noble’s comedy is that he is playing without a safety net. From the moment he walks on stage, he takes his cues from audience interaction and spins hilarious torrents of imaginative nonsense from his sub-conscious without seeming to need to fall back on set material.

You could attend every show in Adelaide and each would be unique.   Arrive late to a Ross Noble gig and you can guarantee being woven into his set.

Aside from his improvisational skill, Noble’s physicality is a pleasure to watch. He roams the stage with arms, legs and hair flying, adding a layer of visual comedy to the outrageous images he’s spinning from pure imagination.

Circus-hating terrorists, a seeing-eye dog doubling as Esky, and the state of his testicles after a vasectomy; the material felt completely random and, while you could say that it lacked a bit of substance, the truth was the audience was not there to see Noble being profound or political. We were there to marvel at the sight of an improvisational virtuoso at work.

If the depth of Noble’s skill at extemporisation wasn’t obvious during the show, he certainly left the audience in no doubt during his encore. Taking random questions from the audience, he wove references to all the core topics plus the audience members he’d interacted with into one tight 10-minute final set.

Ross Noble is as impressive for his improvisational deftness as he is for his hilarious flights of lurid absurdity. If you love his work, see him several times while he’s here; you can be sure each show will be entirely different.

Four-and-a-half stars

Ross Noble will be at the Royalty Theatre until March 13 (the March 12 show sold out).



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