Well, he’s managed it. Kim Noble has created a show that is even more horrible than the last one. It’s our fault, we only went and encouraged him. The performance artist turned comedian turned harmless prankster turned B&Q volunteer turned church shitter is back with another multi-media show you’d have rather heard about than seen. Well done – excellent work.
It’s a fitting climax, the third in a trilogy of stories about loneliness and connection which have developed over a period of nearly 14 years. Latterly they have, in part, documented Kim’s father’s illness and death. We all have our ways of grieving and unfortunately his is playing with roadkill, so this is not a typical ‘dead Dad show’ by any means. As before, Kim has spent the time since the last show compiling footage of himself seeking connection, be that at work, home, or in the wild stalking foxes.
Can you tell I’m putting off from telling you what happens? The problem with writing this review is that once you’ve seen the show, your brain will automatically want to jettison as much of what you’ve just seen as possible. Kim has no respect for societal boundaries, morals, taste, decency or skill with iMovie. His footage ranges from superimposing himself into porn; covertly filming his colleagues as they refuse to invite him to the office Christmas party and as he gives an elderly cleaning client a shower. So far so unacceptable, but not much of a deviation from his usual style. In his abuse of the general public’s right to privacy Kim clearly lacks any respect and this is uncomfortable. The heart present in the actions of his previous productions has pretty much fizzled out by now.
In this show, discomfort is the light relief when the norm is disgust. Live dissection, the injection of his semen into the days-old corpse of a squirrel, masturbating with a hoover bag and inserting a maggot into his urethra are stomach turning. But I promise you, it all makes sense. Threading this video reportage together is the spunked up squirrel, now relieved of its inners entirely and taxidermied into a quite mangled puppet, in conversation with Kim and his daughter. (The ‘daughter’ is a maggot cultivated from another prop/puppet/toy, a roadkill fox, of course). It is excellently put together and constantly unknowable from start to finish.
Unfortunately, this show is funny. Very funny. There are no jokes and it’s not the gross bits that are funny (I’m not a pervert, I promise). It’s not Jackass. It’s all in the relief, like a pressure cooker finally going off. Kim does a fantastic job of journey-making in this show, knowing exactly when to push and when to pull back.
He constantly pushes things too far but loses nobody in the process. Kim is a master of his work and in complete control of the boundaries, using and abusing the character of Kim Noble in performance and action to tell a story of loneliness that is unique and his own. Lullaby for Scavengers is entirely uncategorisable and unlike anything else on show in established theatres. By being truly on the margins and outside of taste and decency, it demonstrates the imaginative lengths that fringe theatre can reach away from the mainstream.
Written by: Kim Noble
Composed by: Stephen & David Dewaele (Soulwax / 2manydjs)
Kim Noble: Lullaby for Scavengers plays until 8 April 2023 at Soho Theatre. Further information and tickets can be found here.