This article is from 2009.
Of the near 600 shows listed under Comedy in the Fringe programme, there will be absolutely nothing in there like Kim Noble Will Die. Indeed, whether the return of the man who was once one half of the Perrier Best Newcomer winning double act Noble and Silver deserves to be considered 'comedy' is a whole debate in itself. Sure, there is much laughter in the room, but how much of it comes genuinely from the heart and how much acts as an involuntary reaction expressing horror, shock and embarrassment is unclear.
As we file into the room, ambient music plays and Noble stalks his room, with powdery white face, joke-shop bald cap and half-wearing a Superman outfit. A 'volunteer' is shoved onto the stage and spends the next hour wearing a bucket on his head with images of Noble and his mother projected onto it, both occasionally providing a commentary of the action. Later, another audience member will leave the room having been ejected in a mockery of Big Brother's eviction process. Two others noisily flee the room and an Assembly Rooms steward appears to get flustered when another audience member lies on the floor in 'distress' before angrily confronting Noble at the finale (my gut feeling is that he was a plant, the likes of which Noble and Silver utilised brilliantly back in the day).
For one hour, we are given access to Kim Noble's troubled mind as he attempts to quantify his legacy. Former showbiz colleagues such as Catherine Tate and Mat Horne have found fame while Stuart Silver has started a family. Noble is left with personal despair and mental illness, resulting in him harassing celebrities, self-harming, and ejaculating into products before returning them resealed to the shelf. All of which we witness on screen in gruesome and repetitive detail.
Whether we are being exposed to is a parody of madness, someone treating a performance as therapy or a bald display of unfettered lunacy is uncertain. Throughout Noble displays an innovative streak which flows headlong into obsessiveness, all the while deliberately undermining the laugh. Whatever he is seeking to achieve with a show which has been described before as 'a multimedia suicide note', Noble has constructed a painful yet compelling spectacle. In a month of sub-standard stand-ups and insipid sketch shows, this is car crash comedy where no one, not least the act himself, has an airbag.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 30 Aug, 6.20pm, £12--£13 (£11--£12).