wed 24/04/2019

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre

Tender and playful show about love and loneliness

Kim Noble as his female alter ego SarahGeraint Lewis

The Soho Theatre's lawyer was in the night I saw Kim Noble's new show, and that's no surprise as it pushes a few boundaries – public decency and legality being just two. In many ways it's typical of Noble's output as it plays with the audience's perception of real and imagined events, blurs ethical lines and dares us to be offended. As we walk in, for instance, he's Googling things such as “weird cunt cum” and “dwarf sticking milk bottle up arse”, and later we see footage of him defecating in a church – “It was a Catholic church so it doesn't count.”

In You're Not Alone Noble first shocks us with tales of his stalkery affection for a man on the checkout of his local Morrisons; how he drilled holes between their two houses so he could better record his neighbours' lovemaking; the time he donned an orange apron and pretended to work at a branch of B&Q, telling the customers he didn't give a shit where the nails were yet gave himself an employee of the month award; and how he created a female alter ego online – all supported by video and photographs on the large screen at the back of the stage.

The female alter ego, “Sarah”, leads to some particularly good comedy, as Noble, using Photoshop and a voice decoder, communicates at first online (with delightfully silly ways of presenting his genitals as female in photographs), then on the phone and eventually in person with several men. As with much of Noble's work, the audience never knows how much is real and how much is performance, but I would love this section to be true when Sarah's potential amours realise they have been duped.

Then Noble hits us with an emotional sucker punch, as he shows us film of his ageing father, now in a care home and, he says, lonely and in despair. All the things he has described before, Noble tells us, are simply to make some sort of emotional connection with people in his largely solitary life. We realise that amid the laughs, this is a thought-provoking show about love and loneliness, and the disconnectedness of much of modern life when, paradoxically, we are supposedly in constant communication through smartphones and social media.

I must admit I've previously been discomfited by much of Noble's work, but I found You're Not Alone much easier to watch as it's suffused with tenderness and an unexpected playfulness. A beautiful, funny and moving hour.

Noble hits us with an emotional sucker punch as he shows us film of his ageing father

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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