The scintillating applause and screams from the packed Edinburgh Festival Theatre before The Mighty Boosh entered the stage was a clear demonstration of the fanbase Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt have created. With three hugely successful TV series behind them, a plethora of vivid characters and the lively Mighty Boosh band in their repetoire, there should be enough content to keep any audience entertained. When all is said and done, it’s easy to see why the expectation for this Mighty Boosh tour is so high.
Fielding, as Vince Noir, is the show’s lifeblood. His entrance in a palatial boat immediately outshines Barratt’s Howard Moon who arrives in a cheap seaside dinghy. Vince Noir’s huge hairdryer, which blows Bob Fossil’s wig off is one of the show’s funnier moments. Everything which is great about The Mighty Boosh comes from Fielding. So it’s no surprise when his Moon creation steals the first-half, especially the rant about Michael Collins and how he never set foot on the moon. This was side splitting laughter inducing Boosh at its very best - though somewhat ironic the funniest moment was pre-recorded. Fielding’s Tony Harrison was also a welcome addition to the live stage, although this performance was tainted with uncomfortable crouching by Fielding in a confined space and fluffed lines.
Many characters are present for The Mighty Boosh Live, with the notable exception of the fans’ favourite Old Gregg - surprising considering Crackfox makes a brief appearance in a bin. The worst aspect of The Mighty Boosh’s first half was the inability of the script to use the riches on offer. Naboo, Bollo and Howard Moon just didn’t have the content to impress - the creativity and tightness of the TV script didn’t manifest itself anywhere near enough on stage. The Mighty Boosh band, who were excellent, added impetus and enjoyment - they were definitely the unique highlight of the live show.
The second half was awful. Without Vince Noir’s intervention, to interrupt a dreadfully unfunny play lead by Howard Moon, it would have fallen completely flat. A later appearance by the Honey Monster, whose head is ripped off a few times raises a few laughs. As does the revelation of Howard Moon and his Jazz magazine photo-shoot. The Mighty Boosh band also got some atmosphere back. But by this point the damage was done. At Â£25 a ticket I would have expected a lot more.
In fairness to The Mighty Boosh I watched only the second night of the live tour. The mistakes will go and the content will get better. In fairness to the general public The Mighty Boosh I saw wasn’t a preview show; if it’s treated as one by the cast the tickets shouldn’t be full price. Also, the second half just does not work - one of two or the TV shows do isolate the audience somewhat, but I wouldn’t have expected material in the live show to isolate the audience as much as it did.
It’s worth noting the interval lasted for nearly thirty minutes - plenty of opportunity for the packed merchandise stalls to sell their t-shirts. The Mighty Boosh live: some great moments in the first-half, depressed by a very mediocre second. At least we get to see the Mighty Boosh’s characters live, which was more than enough for most of the excitable audience.