2005-12-15 : Conches, goosestepping golden donkeys, and rollon ninjas.
With a subject line like that, it'll be no surprise to those in the know that I've been to see Ross Noble.
I don't honestly know why I expected to see anything other than a fairly scruffy geordie talking bollocks and taking the piss out of latecomer audience members. But I loved every second of it – the man truly is a bullshit artiste (high praise, in my book).
It was a little challenging finding the venue, as the ticket said “Theatre Royal, Drury Lane”, and the only one I could think of was the one showing The Producers. After scratching my head a bit, and watching a few other startled punters gingerly walk in and not come out, I went in to see what was what, and found it was indeed the right building. Way to go Ross – do a show in a building advertising something completely different.
Luckily this time I managed to get in before the lights had gone down, and I wasn't wearing orange trousers and a Blues Brothers hat. Some other punters who snuck in after the audience safety video (including useful tips like “No flash photography or video recording is allowed, unless the elusive Bigfoot is seen towards the rear of the theatre – in that case it is allowed”, and there was some kind of pointer advising that people with disproportionately large heads had to duck down so that the person behind could see, and if need be, rest their drink on the person's enormous head. A couple of punters snuck in with near militiary precision, both clad in black, which prompted Ross to explore the idea that they had a special roll-on ninja suit dispensing thing in the car, and this was supported by the next 4 people that came in late, however the 7th latecomer was wearing white, so clearly the roll-on had run out. He was carrying a large bundle of stuff which turned out to be a bike helmet & cycling gear, so Ross was set with his link back to environmental issues, as well as the fact that the helmet initially resembled a giant conch. This developed later into the realisation that the reason why nobody in London talks to each other is that it's some sort of massive Lord of the Flies arrangement, and you can't speak or answer a question unless you're holding the conch.
He also tackled the point that Ken Hom's not really Chinese but is in fact a fat bloke from Luton wearing a tight shirt & leaning forward, misheard a guy in the crowd & thought he said he would only eat in restaurants that had no corners, told us of his berating a nazi-dressed stagehand who wouldn't say hello but turned out to be one of the mannequins from The Producers, spent an inordinately long time trying to tell us about his favourite rapper (Fitty Cent, not Fifty), waxed frustration about directory assistance in Australia, discussed his favourite poo experience (not as bad as it sounds), and (in case you hadn't guess) kind of rambled directionlessly between all manner of disparate topics.
On one hand, I wonder if he suffers too much from trying to be too random, but he seems to do it so effortlessly, it doesn't seem like he's even trying. One bit I loved particularly (and I can't explain or justify this) was his interaction with a bloke down the front og the venue who was wearing a t-shirt with the word “DEAH!” printed on it. He asked what that meant, and the guy said that it's something rappers say… or at least that's what the bloke who sold it to him said. When faced with this information, Ross just exclaimed “BULLSHIT !” – it was like genuine surprise and confusion that someone would say such a thing, and then that someone else would believe it and fork out 12 quid for such a thing.
Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the amazing inflatable set which kinda looked like an exploded set of tonsils – there were no bigfoot sightings, so I wasn't really allowed to take any. He seemed genuinely impressed that he was the owner of a 20 foot high inflatable explosion. He explained that he didn't know quite what it was, it was just something he doodled on a bit of paper, and they came up with it ! Couldn't help but wonder what he's gonna do with it when he's finished.
So anyway, that was Noble in a nutshell. Naturally I've missed a whole load of what was discussed, but it's tenuous enough to try to describe as much as I have… the rest just really wouldn't have made any sense.