Granted, I love The Mighty Boosh. And so do you. My friends like it too, and yours say they do because theyâ€™ve seen it twice. They say theyâ€™re â€˜a bit randomâ€™ â€“ “Ima bit random” – in their About Me on Facebook, they say their music taste is â€˜eccentricâ€™, and theyâ€™re currently sporting a checked shirt in combination with skinny jeans, grey socks, deaded Converse, and a Mighty Boosh t-shirt. Nothing worse than wearing the merch of the act youâ€™re going to see, nothing worse I say.
Thereâ€™s the classismâ€¦ hereâ€™s the reality. This massive show is no trip through the minds of Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt; you canâ€™t see it unfolding the way that you want to, the way that youâ€™re used to. Thereâ€™s too much space left for the devoted fans to coo extensively, a lack of interaction through the first half, and an almost complete lack of spontaneity. Disappointing in itself but in context, a tad bewildering.
The first half of the show is like a revue, a roll-call of your favourites being introduced in the same template. With the self-indulgent woops requested time and time again. Sure, we canâ€™t blame the show for taking this route because after all, weâ€™re in a massive venue and the fans are so over-excited that the majorityâ€™d probably be happy if there were no words or movement for the next two and a bit hoursâ€¦ but the expectations have catapulted themselves onto a level unpredicted by perhaps even The Booshâ€™s creators.
The structure errs on the wrong side of tame, and whilst thatâ€™s relative, the moments of greatness seeping out of the seams should have been emphasised rather than, say, the extensive filler and drawn out nonsense from any of Rich Fulcherâ€™s characters. Bob Fossil is hilarious in the series but only because his less wordy, faster-burning humour is set up to appear in contrast to the verbose, five-second-delay-inducing humour of the showâ€™s protagonists.
The difference between the live show and the television series lies in the timing â€“ live, thereâ€™s gaps where the audience are left to think, or even digress, but when watching any of the episodes these gaps seem few and far between. Any gaps that may appear in, say, â€˜The Strange Tale Of The Crack Foxâ€™ (series three) are inevitably miniscule â€“ and whilst itâ€™s not laugh-a-minute humour, itâ€™s certainly fast and imaginative. That is missing in the large arena, unsurprisingly. Casual culture clash-based humour and the recurring Kings of Leon pastiche aside, itâ€™s a night where you canâ€™t help but feel that youâ€™d rather see an episode of series one replayed before you on the stage instead of this disjointed little number. The humourâ€™s fluid as ever, but the lines become tired and the songs drawn out.
The appearance of The Moon is fantastic, bringing back just why the show has hit so hard, if you like framing its niche in a two-minute slot. I mean itâ€™s a moon. Creepers. “I is a moon”. What is that? A revolving circular LED screen on the top left side of the stage talking rappers and brappers and blapsers (made this bit up) â€“ so strange that youâ€™d conceive of such an idea once and immediately forego your soul. But no, not for Vince and Howard! Not for them.
Tony Harrisonâ€™s appearance is also most welcome, arriving on a leather one-piece â€“ i.e. with Noel Fieldingâ€™s torso squished into the insert of a leather one-piece with the H manâ€™s eight-tentacled existence arriving out of the top like lava out of a volcano. It is funny. Funny in principle, and funny in practice. Not tired because heâ€™s only an occasional character.
The songs donâ€™t work so well, theyâ€™re just too familiar. The Hitcher feels passÃ©, hell even â€˜Eelsâ€™ has had its day. Even the crimping felt a bit tired. The realisation that it was stolen by the Honey Monster was funny in principle but we all knew that. And The Boosh has never before been about common ground in such an obvious sense.
The summation is this: if youâ€™re new to The Mighty Boosh, thisâ€™ll have been a slap in the face. Otherwise itâ€™ll have been a mere tap on the ear. Where Sammy The Crab was hilarious in its coming out of nowhere, thereâ€™s nothing like that tonight. New characters Sunflash and Booblay offer a slightly different spin on the idiosyncratic observations, but you canâ€™t help but wonder what the future holds if even The Boosh has started to fee hackneyedâ€¦ in the true Bethnal Green sense of the word.