ComedyNorth WestReviewSpoken WordStand Up

Kim Noble: You’re Not Alone – Contact, Manchester

Reviewer: Peter Jacobs

Kim Noble’s You’re Not Alone is part of the SICK! Festival, in association with Word of Warning, Contact and In Between Time. SICK! Festival and SICK! Lab confronts the physical, mental and social challenges of life and death. This show does this through the lens of comedy – after a fashion.

Kim Noble is an award-winning video and performance artist and comedian with a likeable downbeat delivery. You’re Not Alone is the kind of show that needs to be seen, as it is hard to explain and its interlinking stories and anecdotes wind their way to a conclusion that has to be experienced: revealed. The show essentially explores ideas of loneliness and the struggle for connection in a society where the Internet and social media promises the world at your fingertips but delivers results which can be random, and intimacy and relationships that may be illusory. Especially when Noble is creating interventions and cruel diversions that defy the conventions of normal social behaviour.

The show focuses especially on the world of men and their disconnectedness from family and personal relationships, often fuelled by the endless pursuit of sex or the isolation of age. A different kind of intimacy is drawn from his relationship with his increasingly frail father, who is battling dementia.

The video content is extremely well-timed and effective, as is the inclusion of music and secret sound recordings and neatly-managed audience participation. The show is very well constructed both from a technical perspective and Kim Noble’s delivery of complex, disturbing, darkly-cruel, sometimes bizarre, yet compassionate material. Even when the material seems grotesque or gratuitous Noble manages to find the humour and weaves the disparate strands into a whole that is ultimately heartbreakingly sad and devastating and unexpected.

This is a show of incredibly audacity and bravery and – for all its seeming bleakness – humanity.

Reviewed on 12 March 2016 | Image: Contributed

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