Ross Noble: Nobleism

DVD review by Steve Bennett

Well, you can’t accuse Ross Noble of short-changing his fans. The main feature on this DVD runs for an epic two hours, with an 20-minute encore – plus there’s an second show with more than an hour’s worth of material on disc two.

Mind you – and this may be sacrilege when it comes to the famously garrulous Geordie – there’s a case to be made that a tighter edit wouldn’t have gone amiss on this, his fifth, DVD.

It’s not the moments when he lets his overactive imagination run away with him, these are as beautifully random as ever, but rather when he’s asked to march to the beat of the audience, rather than whatever tune is currently playing on the shuffle of his own mind.

Going through the gifts well-meaning fans leave on stage can seem like a Christmas morning spent watching relatives feign delight at their gifts while knowing you’ve gone none yourself. Noble humours the fans, but it’s difficult with some of the uninspiring items, in-jokes few people are in on, or requests for him to say ‘hello’ to people like some fifth-rate local radio DJ. He acknowledges that many people will be ‘totally confused’ by some of the references, but the more prosaic truth is that we actually just don’t care.

That said, he pulls out some great material from this spontaneity, from his squeamish reaction to a glass eye, to the delightfully incongruous images he conjures up of alternate Ku Klux Klan’s outfits or waxworks made only out of poo.

His prepared material can’t quite live up to the flights of fantasy, with starting points such as chavs (or charvas in his native dialect) or the flimsy link between the resurrection story and the Easter bunny giving the material a flick of familiarity that the ad libbed moments never have. That said, they’re still pretty funny.

This show was recorded in Liverpool’s Empire Theatre and simultaneously piped to Vue cinemas across the country, and Noble occasionaly playing with that format, which is an asset on DVD as he directly addresses viewers not in the auditorium, without breaking the rhythms of the live show.

Nobleism isn’t quite Noble at his very best, but this flighty comedian has still captured plenty of delightful moments for posterity.

Main feature: 121 mins + 21 min encore
Extras: A separate disc containing 70 minutes of extra show footage, an interview with comedy academic Dr Oliver Double (54mins), Episode one of the Five documentary series Ross Noble's Australian Trip (43 mins); Gifted featurette - setting some ground rules for 'out of control' behaviour of his ardent fans gift-leaving (33 mins); the Nobleism cinema trailer (1min)
Released by: Universal Pictures, November 9
Price: £19.99. Click here to buy from Amazon at £12.78

Published: 11 Dec 2009

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