THERE can’t be too many 42-year-old comedians who arrive on stage to the piercing sound of screaming girls.
An Evening With Noel Fielding | Rating: ** | EICC, Edinburgh
But then Noel Fielding has never been an ordinary comedian. By his own admission an ex-chav who went to art school where he discovered Mick Jagger and a flamboyant fashion sense which is matched by many in the crowd (there’s vivid pink hair, tiny painted moustaches and an assortment of curious headwear amongst his throng), his strain of wilful oddness does have a rich heritage in Britain.
But his commitment to that cause is emboldened by sidekicks equally doused in their leader’s semi-surrealist spirit, a rabid penchant for rock icons (Joey Ramone, David Bowie and even The Dark Side of the Moon crop up in animated form), a love triangle in which Noel’s brother plays his adulterous wife and the awful possibility that Antonio Banderas may have to replace the main act for the second half.
But watching Noel Fielding, you can’t help feel that there’s something missing. That something being Julian Barratt, his Mighty Boosh cohort. This vibrantly decked out show (a sort of LSD panto) is akin to watching Wise desperately channelling Morecambe for two hours. The result is Fielding forcing his strangeness on us in stark contrast to the playful ease which made the Boosh so memorable in their pomp. It’s perhaps telling that the show’s top moment comes when Fielding transforms into his hyper-permed New York cop to wander through the crowd and chat terrifically off the cuff. It only served to highlight how neutered his scripted nonsense has become.