The Mighty Boosh Live Review

A lot is said about the difficult third novel or the difficult third album and this phenomenon may be affecting the Mighty Boosh. After a radio series and two TV series based on Howard Moon(Barratt), Vince Noir(Noel Fielding) and their menagerie of characters the Boosh have again kept to the familiar and taken a greatest hits approach to their live show. Is this recycling the sign of a lack of creativity or just giving the fans what they want?

The live show is chock full of content with Howard and Vince introducing their theatre piece and the cast of Bollo the ape(Jones), Naboo(Michael Fielding), and Bob Fossil(Fulcher). Bollo is trying to convince Peter Jackson to cast him in King Kong and gets to show off his acting skills in a death scene which involves him holding a Barbie doll and having paper aeroplanes thrown at him! Naboo does his usual stony faced chilled out thing whilst the others act around him. Bob Fossil turns up, does the "I don't like Cricket" dance and behaves appallingly throughout, clearly ignoring the script in order to get everyone to corpse around him. The theatre piece is essentially a rejigging of the TV series staples with the Tundra story mixed up with the Hitcher and Jungle room episodes. This allows for the songs from the series to be redone for the live audience and Bollo gets to do some Drum and Bass rapping. It all ends with an encore with Old Gregg and Howard accepting his romantic lot with the fishy fiend - "he is Old Gregg and he has a Man-gina and I have a She-nis".
The whole gang is clearly having a lot of fun, and the show is well produced, keeping the slightly amateurish edge to the effects that was a hallmark of the TV shows. As a live show, Noel Fielding gets to be more outrageous and more like a pop star than ever, and Julian Barratt gets to riff on his old material. There is a more adult tone to the show with the Hitcher boasting about "stump fucking" and a large Bunny rapist loosed on Vince. Boosh is more than a little bit juvenile and the fan culture at times is a tad exclusive for any new viewers, but what really works is the closeness of the central relationships and the flights of fancy. This articulates itself in the fun Julian and Noel have with words and the silliness, and, much like double acts like Eric and Ernie and Vic and Bob, we enjoy them enjoying themselves. I liked the unexpected moments more than the greatest hits, and some of the new material justifies the purchase of the show along with Fulcher's madness. That said, it is a little disappointing that Boosh are not developing greatly and still using material from a radio serial from five years ago. The Boosh live is fun, reliable for laughs, and it feels like a fan convention.

The Disc
This is a two disc package with the live show on the first disc. The visual quality is far from excellent with regular motion blurring and given how energetic the performances are, this will be distracting. The shooting of the show is a little prosaic and under directed with long shots of the whole stage rather over done so that nothing is missed even when there is nothing to see. The sound is mixed well with audience noise never overpowering the performers, and the music is balanced into the action appropriately. Distortion is minimal even when Fulcher is shouting and screaming, and there are no background distractions to report.

The extras disc features backstage footage which is part staged from the Boosh turning up to the gig to backstage hi-jinx with everyone looking the worse for wear from alcohol. This is basically great for fans of the show and everyone plays up to their personas, but there is little insight into the show other than the stage manager is extremely patient with Rich Fulcher. The Culture Show piece on the Boosh tour features an interview with Barratt and Fielding inter cut with footage of the tour and comments from Paul King on the staging of the show. The deleted scene features Fielding insulting the hell out of an over enthusiastic audience member who interrupts the show. There is also a live performance by the support act the Ralfe Band of their single Women of Japan.

This is one for fans and completists. It resembles a fan club video with goodish production values. Personally, I hope that the third series of the TV show is what all their new material is being kept for as the Boosh are getting close to being a tribute act to themselves.

6 out of 10
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