Photos – Geraint Lewis
Nothing can really prepare you for the hilarious, disturbing, surreal and sad journey that the ginger, extremely awkward Englishman Kim Noble takes you on. But know there will be things that can never be unseen – like those inappropriate things people would spam you with in emails when everyone suddenly discovered the internet.
When the show starts with video footage of Noble pulling apart the insides of a pigeon with the view to stuff it, you know you’ve just jumped on a particularly sordid fairground ride it will be hard to get off. With his faithful hidden camera, the eccentric outcast films everything from the mundane – his neighbour complaining about her stolen plant pots – to the creepy – the sound of his neighbours having sex. In particular he has an inexplicable, perverse obsession with the elderly check out clerk at his local supermarket called Keith – he buys more than 100 pounds worth of condoms to make him think he has a lot of sex, and shows up at his apartment to present him with random awards.
Although he fails to secure a job at the English version of Bunnings, B & Q, he replicates the uniform and goes to work there "undercover" for a year and a half, documenting his awkward encounters with customers in the aisles.
A large part of the hour is spent cat-fishing several different men as his female persona Sarah, who he inhabits with his bits strapped up with masking tape, a terrible wig and a crushed red velvet dress. He is certainly ingenious when it comes to recreating women’s private parts, including one particularly squeamish creation involving chicken breasts.
Noble’s desperate attempts to not be alone are interspersed with footage of his elderly father with Alzheimers, who has since passed away. A male volunteer from the audience – who he has instructed to sit on stage topless listening to Noble’s bizarre story – is taken back stage and then returns shuffling on backlit, wearing a rubber mask to imitate Noble’s father.
You can see why Noble is much admired by Sam Simmons and has appeared on The Mighty Boosh, but he takes that dark, surreal humour to a whole other sick level. We are all alone, he intimates, but only friendships and relationships can provide us with the brief illusion that we are not. We are left wondering: is this odd, disturbed creature really who Noble is, or just a theatrical construction? Either way, this is an hour of your life you could never possibly forget.
In Between Time in association with Soho theatre and Malthouse Theatre
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
by Kim Noble
Directed by Kim Noble and Gary Reich
Venue: Beckett Theatre | The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt St Southbank VIC
Dates: 1 – 13 August 2017
Tickets: $35 – $69
Bookings: www.malthousetheatre.com.au | (03) 9685 5111