Kim Noble: You’re Not Alone

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): Kim Noble: You’re Not Alone at Traverse Theatre (Venue 15). Review by Kate Copstick

In 1991 artist Mark Quinn made Self – a sculpture of his head cast in eight pints of his own blood removed over a five-month period and frozen. He makes a new one every five years. Watching Kim Noble’s devastating lovesong to loneliness, Quinn seems suddenly lacking in commitment to his art.

What we are given here is Noble’s soul, onstage and onscreen, naked and in crimson shift and heels. There are no boundaries and no limits to his art, literally or metaphorically. This is a performer entirely without ego, a man who will use himself and everything he loves to create the terrible, beautiful, funny and frightening moments he gives us.

Although the piece is as personal as it is possible to be, Noble makes of himself the medium rather than the message. As soon as you enter his world, however fleetingly, even as an audience member, you become part of his art. The piece, which starts before you ever imagine it does and ends with complete strangers slow dancing together to Chris de Burgh, will never really leave you.

Years of Noble’s life are here, in the sounds of his neighbours’ sex lives, in the footage of Keith at his supermarket till, in the hilarious vignettes of his times “working” in B&Q and Ikea, and in his online relationships with Dan and Jon and Dave. Noble wanders around, in and out of pools of light, in and out of a crimson shift dress, gazing at the huge screen that dominates the stage and – as we see from what he conjures on it – much of his life.

This is not a depressing show. There are moments where the audience laughs a laugh that rocks them into the row in front like a comedy Mexican Wave, but it is a show so profoundly moving you want to stay in its depths as long as you can. To modify WB Yeats: He has spread his dreams under your feet, tread softly, for you tread on his dreams.

Until 24 August. Today 11:15pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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