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Black Country Festival: Live at the Civic starring Ross Noble brings laughter

By Andrew Turton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

They dow half like a loff in the Black Country.

Ross Noble headlined the night of live comedy celebrating Black Country life

Whether it's one of your own or one of the country’s best known comics, laughter is infectious.

And what better way to celebrate our proud part of the country than with a bostin’ night out.

Black Country Festival organisers hoped to raise a smile with a night of stand up comedy.

Star turn Ross Noble was the big name on the line up but it wasn't just about that for the expectant audience.

Brierley Hill Civic Hall was also thrilled to see what the Black Country had to offer on Friday night.

Left to right: Jonny Cole, Wayne Beese, Ross Noble, Mike Crump and Darren Harriott

Joining the bill were Jonny Cole, from Wednesbury, Darren Harriott, from Oldbury, and Mike Crump, from Dudley.

And for Noble, who was born in Northumberland, being part of the bill of burgeoning Black Country talent was special.

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"Especially in the current climate people can be quite down about regional Britain so nights like this are great," he said.

Ross Noble performed at Brierley Hill Civic Hall for the Black Country Festival
Noble was up for sharing in the Black Country fun

"Plus I find it really hard not to just do the accent round here. I love it. I know the word bostin'. Events like the festival are brilliant, they are bostin'.

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"We had the same thing [comedy nights] when I was up in Newcastle. There was a whole bunch of us and it was exactly the same thing as they are trying to achieve here.

"I never get to see other comics because when I'm on tour it's just me.

"I'm out of the loop so it's good because normally it's just me in the dressing room, obviously I've got a crew of guys that I work with and they travel with me all the time, but it is nice to be here and there is that camaraderie too."

His shows are well known for being packed full of the surreal with random heckles and chats with audience members leading to wonderfully bizarre sketches.

Noble's heavily improvised act shows the command of an experienced stand up.

His gags about Dudley's roundabouts with their brick sculptures and winged horse statue and the venue's emergency exits had the audience roaring with laughter.

Left and right, Jonny Cole and Wayne Beese with Ross Noble

And a wry look at Black Country life was celebrated with the band of brilliant comics sharing the bill.

MC for the night was Wayne Beese, a well known comic on the Black Country circuit, whose own nights have grown with popularity as he aims to give a platform to the region's stand up acts.

His own relaxed delivery provided a perfect contrast to the high energy of the other acts.

The stock of Wednesbury's own Jonny Cole is rising and his opening slot helped anchor the show in the bostin' brilliance of life in these parts.

Teamed with his guitar and lyrical storytelling, he bridges the gap between some of the best qualities of the heyday of the Black Country Night Out with acts like Aynuk and Ayli while reflecting a modern take on the people, places and moments which get you laughing.

"Black Country folk are so homely and have a great sense of humour," he told the Express & Star. "We laugh at ourselves first. We know it's an hole but it's our hole."

Next on the bill was Mike Crump, a future star from Dudley, who has been forging an acting career having taken a role in Danny and the Human Zoo, the feature length film filmed based on the life of Lenny Henry.

He has an exuberance on stage that shows a courage not to shy away from topics like sexuality.

His energy showed how he is honing his craft playing bigger and bigger shows.

"I tried to ignore doing a gig like this until the day so I don't get too nervous," he said.

"But it is fantastic and I'm very pound to be from the Black Country."

Oldbury's Darren Harriott was next on the bill and he created a polished performance which belied the early stages of his career.

From observations on emojis, Lenny Henry and Groupon vouchers, it was a well observed act.

"When you come to somewhere like this to perform you get into the atmosphere and it makes it feel special," he said.

Overall the night proved the platform to showcase the best of the Black Country and beyond.

Andrew Turton

By Andrew Turton
Digital Journalist

Digital journalist based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton. Interested in breaking news and social media. Get in touch on Twitter @aturton_star or andrew.turton@expressandstar.co.uk

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