Fringe review: Ross Noble – Jibber Jabber Jamboree

The title of this show describes Ross Noble’s wild, stream-of-consciousness style, but doesn’t do justice to the hilarious ingenuity of the content. Celebrating his 21st tour, the comedian again proves himself the virtuoso of improvisational stand-up. ★★★★

Feb 20, 2023, updated Feb 20, 2023

From the moment he bounds on stage, Ross Noble is flying without a safety net, the majority of his set flowing almost entirely from audience interaction. Plucking a walking stick with a stool attachment from an audience member in the front row, he riffed on the object for 15 minutes, barely taking breath as wry observations flowed into physical humour and surreal ideas on alternative uses for this mobility aid.

The hour-long performance showcases Noble’s genius for spontaneity, the whole set bristling with diversions and tangential asides. But there is a cunning knack for structure beneath his seemingly unruly, stream-of-consciousness flow. This set swerved from bum-tanning to librarian porn to a guide dog licking his leg in a Chinese restaurant, but despite the constant branching of tangents, Noble always managed to steer things back to the place from which he swerved off-course, never leaving the audience hanging. Like a stand-up comedian in the Marines – no joke is left behind.

When you’re not in awe of his skill at spinning entire sets from cues plucked from the audience, Noble’s physical presence is pure pleasure. Stalking the stage, arms flailing and hair flying, his skill with visual comedy perfectly complements the hilarious absurdity spinning from his subconscious.

While touching on the odd potentially problematic subject – terrorists, the regime in Saudi Arabia – Noble skirted close to the edge but never slipped. Audiences don’t flock to see him for a show that’s politically edgy or philosophically profound. They come to marvel at an improvisational maestro at work, riffing off the energy and random interjections of his audience.

He may be at the top of his craft, but Noble is still humble. Deep in the flow of a bit on the use of animals in medical diagnosis, someone chimed in with a hilarious observation of their own. Noble stopped his set and applauded, giving credit where it’s due, a beautiful demonstration of a comedian prizing comedy itself rather than the spotlight.

Equally impressive for his improvisational deftness as his frenetic flights of absurdity, the genius of Ross Noble’s comedy is that you could attend every show in Adelaide and each would be unique.

Ross Noble is performing Jibber Jabber Jamboree at The Flamingo, Gluttony until March 19.

Read more 2023 Adelaide Fringe stories and reviews on InReview here.


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