With many comedians, you’ll be lucky if you get a 90 minute set out of them, but Ross Noble is the other way around, as he pretty much needs to be dragged off the stage and gives the impression he’d be happy to carry on riffing all night if given the chance. This comedic verbosity is carried onto this new DVD release, as you don’t just get one gig, you get three, plus a slew of highlights and bits and pieces from other performances. Just the first gig, filmed in Canberra, Australia, is over two hours long, which should give you an idea of just how much is included in this release.
All of that would be pretty pointless if it wasn’t funny, but luckily Noble is on fine form. He’s renowned as one of the more surreal comics, whose brain constantly goes off on flights of fancy based on whatever is happening around him and what he gets from the audience. It’s these flights of fancy that allow him to offer so much material from one tour. Rather like Billy Connolly, no two concerts are the same, with much of the material made up on the spot. The result inevitably means some of these spontaneous jokes and ideas are better than others, but even when Noble’s riffs aren’t mining 100% gold, they’re still very entertaining. Most of the time though what spurts from his fertile brain is hilarious, bizarre and wonderful to watch.
While most tours have some sort of overarching theme, that’s not so with Ross, who goes wherever he fancies, using his peculiar imagination to come up with everything from about 15 names for a hospitality tent to why people in wheelchairs ought to have horses in the same way blind people get guide dogs. It’s not the sort of humour you can easily pigeonhole, but if you like the surreal, silly and subtly clever, all delivered from the Geordie mouth of a man who can’t help but endear himself to the audience, there’s a ridiculously huge amount to enjoy here.
You certainly have to doff your cap to Noble, not just for being bloody funny, but for creating a three-disc release that offers such good value for money. There are gigs from Canberra, The Hay Festival and London’s Hammersmith Apollo, as well as a Best of Tour feature and more live footage of Ross at ‘Laughs in the Park’ filmed at the Verulamium Park in St Albans. It adds up to over five hours of footage, and while you might want to break up your viewing so you don’t suffer from laugh overload, there’s very little here that feels like filler, which is close to being remarkable.
This really is a great release, and one of the few stand-up DVDs I can imagine people enjoying over and over again.
Overall Verdict: Ross Noble is a very funny man and not content with ensuring his audiences on tour get their monies worth, he’s created an absolutely crammed three-disc release packed full of laughs.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac