Monday, 9 February 2009

Mighty Boosh @ Plymouth Pavilions November 18

Anyone who happened to walk past Plymouth Pavilions yesterday evening would have thought something was very wrong within our society. Green faces, spherical paper cup heads, and even gorillas paced impatiently outside the entrance, waiting for the night to begin.

The Mighty Boosh was in town. The BBC cult comedy, which has had unlimited success since their roots as a radio show, was back with another hotly anticipated live performance, brothering their last tour-come-DVD two years ago. But anyone expecting the same show as last time would be very disappointed.

With “belt hole eyes and a Bovril stained upper lip”, Howard Moon and partner Vince Noir, the glam rock modern day Freddy Mercury look-a-like played by a Lemsip powered Noel Fielding, met the crowd to a swarm of applause and screams. This was a theme carried throughout- even the cast showing their faces on stage sparked hysterics in the crowd at every stage of the evening. This did become slightly tedious, although only accentuated the cult status the five man cast have adopted.

The first half of the show was sure to be a crowd pleaser. The introduction of the other three main characters, Bollo; the talking ape, Naboo; the half pint stoner shaman, and Bob Fossil; the sex crazed, outlandish American zoo keeper were all met to yet more unstoppable penetrating screams from the audience.

Whereas the previous live tour incorporated a lengthy narrative with visits to only a handful of characters, this time round the first half of the show concentrated more on reintroducing the favourite personalities from all three series of the ‘Boosh repertoire. From the bladder headed, tentacle laden Tony Harrison, to the cunning schizophrenic drug pusher Crack Fox, almost all of the favourites were covered, and each given a twenty minute slot to fill with their own catch phrases and humour. However, the introduction of Krakow, the Latvian speaking comedian, really didn’t impress and was perhaps the least stimulating section of the entire show.

The second half was meant to be dedicated to Howard’s sombre environmental play ‘No Future?’ tackling the issue of the impending apocalypse. In true style, it was riotously sabotaged by Vince. Dressed as a cross between Flash Gordon and Graham Norton, he enforced a very different message to reform a population and society: fashion accessorising.

The most impressive part of the night was the quick wit and impromptu heckling with the audience members who almost seem to be challenging the characters to provide hilarious comebacks. A challenge met superbly every time. One member of the front row fired an indistinguishable put down Howard’s way, to which he replied asking for her name. Mid flow of her reply, he simply looked at the sea of expectant faces, and returned “Not interested”, sending the audience into fits.

There also was a lot more emphasis on the music of The Mighty Boosh, the small random songs known as ‘Crimps’ to any ‘Boosh fan. Although very obviously plagued by a nasty dose of Flu, Vince Noir took the lead as part of the six-strong band, and ended with a grand finale montage of the most memorable crimps from all series, accompanied by Charlie, the oversized pink bubblegum “Hubba Bubba nightmare” vacuum cleaner from series one.

As unpredictable the nature of the ‘Boosh is, not one fan could have predicted the finale they were about to encounter. In response to real life plagiarism accusations against the Sugar Puffs cereal, who used their own ‘crimp’ to advertise the brand, the head of the Honey Monster is severed and put onto a spike, only to be later molested by the pink blob Tony Harrison and ridiculed by all the cast and jeering audience.

The problem with the performance is, quite ironically, the success of the TV show. The feeling through the night is that the cast could literally have sat on the stage all evening and the crowd would have screamed and clapped uncontrollably for the full three hours, and left content. This is the idol like status the five men have in today’s teen, and increasing adult, society as cult figures.

Regardless, the show was a true spectacle. The hoards were in stitches throughout; the heckling was that of true professionals; the audience participation and effort in dressing up was phenomenal and the connection between the cast and fans was almost tangible.

The evening was definitely a performance that should be considered for DVD release. It would be disappointing if it couldn’t be relived over and over again. The fans may be, as Howard so delicately put it, “f***ing wierdos”. But they’re weirdos who unarguably idolise the five freaks on stage like Gods.

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