Early on in his Fringe show, Ross Noble guarantees that you will not learn anything during the performance – a strictly non-educational experience after which you’ll leave with the same intelligence that you came in with – and then sets about delivering a one-hour masterclass in off-the-cuff improvisational comedy, with the funniest part being the way he cuts from one absurd story to the next, only to loop round to previous threads left hanging.
Making a rock-star entrance in all black with blue Nike sneakers, against the backdrop of a giant inflatable likeness of himself, Noble starts his show with gusto and immediately latches on to what’s going on both in and outside of Gluttony’s Cornucopia tent, which kick-starts a tangential journey of ad-lib comedy.
As the show goes on, he wins over the audience and brings them into his world, interacting with the crowd while never belittling them — unless perhaps you got up early to leave.
Celebrities, however, are definitely not out of bounds.
Noble picks up on the shriek of an audience member, which gives him all the fodder he needs to spin into a new tangent for at least 15 minutes. While riffing on something as simple as a spirit level or someone’s jacket, his ability to make the show a one-of-a-kind experience never to be replicated is endearing and hilarious.
Rather than a set-up punch-line style of comedy, Noble’s theatrical musings generate laughs throughout, and even when one bit falls flat on the audience, he makes a quip that has everyone in stitches again as if he had set it up on purpose.
By the end of the fast-paced hour, the audience does, in fact, learn a couple of things, including how to get a bean bag into an attic and where the spirit in a spirit level comes from.
It’s a wonder how the Victorian-based comic’s eccentric mind found an outlet while being in lockdown over the past year, but we are all the better for having it let loose once again.
Ross Noble is performing at the Cornucopia in Gluttony until March 21.
Read more Adelaide Fringe reviews and previews here.