Review: 'Live At The Civic' at Brierley Hill Civic Hall

ONE of the funniest 50 minutes of comedy Brierley Hill has ever seen had audiences in tears when Ross Noble came to town this week.

The Geordie funny man was on top improvisational form as he led a Black Country Day ‘Live At The Civic’ special on Friday night, writes Dan Sharp.

Supported admirably by some of the region’s top up-and-coming comics, Noble put in a unique performance that captured everything that’s good about the popular Black Country Festival.

Billed as the main event of this year’s festival, the expectant audience were always going to be in for a treat as Noble tailored his act perfectly to those 600-or-so watching in the Civic Hall.

The organised chaos of Noble is matched by no other on the British circuit and it was the hilarious bedlam that had the audience in stitches.

How he can make a disarray of improvised topics blend into one with layer upon layer of call-backs is something a comedy nerd like myself can only admire.

There was something for everyone, with Noble’s energetic enthusiasm and jokes ranging from how us Black Country-folk love sticking sculptures on traffic islands to velcro v*****s captivating the crowd.

We got a bumper load of Noble – who was still going strong 50 minutes into what was meant to be a 30 minute set, with festival organiser Steve Edwards even admitting his attempts to stop the comedian in his tracks came to no avail – but I could have watched a whole other 50 minutes with a grin on my face.

But the night wasn’t just about the Geordie genius. It was a celebration of the Black Country, and with that a celebration of our Black Country comedians – all of which brought something different to the party.

After Dudley comic and club MC Wayne Beese warmed up the crowd with his engaging and laid back audience interaction, Wednesbury’s guitar-wielding Johnny Cole was first up.

Cole can’t be too far away from being pushed into national stardom with his hilarious brand of musical comedy.

Dudley’s Mike Crump, who stared in Danny and the Human Zoo – the BBC feature based on the life of Lenny Henry – showed he has the comedic talents to go with acting ability with a flamboyant act focusing on sexuality.

Before Noble’s marathon stint it was the turn of Oldbury’s Darren Harriott who gave a Chris Rock-style performance of someone much more experienced than his years suggest.

Without Noble, the night showed what brilliant comic talent the region has, but with him, we were given a show that many audience members won’t forget in a hurry.

The next Live At The Civic on October 21 stars TV comic Seann Walsh, with tickets available for £12.50 until July 31 from