Noel Fielding & Friends gig review

Matt goes along to see Noel Fielding and friends at the Royal Albert Hall. Well, it's all for a good cause...

Noel Fielding, the one from The Mighty Boosh who is a French Duke, last night brought along a motley crew of oddities for his charity gig at the Royal Albert Hall, in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Known for his outlandish sense of, well, everything, the evening promised to be a memorable one.

The first guest was Count Arthur Strong. Whilst his act may have been met with an overwhelming confusion, it was genius. Utter, utter genius. Look this man up.

Another guest was Garth Marenghi, reading a passage from his new novel, a 38,000 word post-apocalyptic thriller set in the 1970’s called Grables: The Legend of Grables. He finished his slot by telling the story of his time writing and publishing the book in Peru and also by chastising the audience for failing to pre-order the book and thus missing out on the 18p discount.

I did have one problem with the event. They lure you in with the promise of Noel Fielding and of a charitable cause, get you sat down and then they force feed you an acoustic set from Razorlight. Whilst it seemed to go down well with the majority of the audience, Razorlight really aren’t for me and I could have done without it. Fortunately they were followed by the Moon, making one of several appearances through out the night.

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Guests aside, this really was Noel’s night. He did brief spots between each of the guests (there were others, but how long does this review honestly need to be?), a long introduction and a full stand-up set at the end. His surreal style of stand-up probably isn’t for everyone, but fans of his work on the Boosh are unlikely to be disappointed.

His routine descended further into a fantastic anarchy as the night went on. With Noel’s style it’s rarely about the punch line; it’s about the journey to get there. Not everyone could get away with it but he has the right amount of charisma to see him through.

The evening climaxed with the first live performance by the Boosh band, who performed a three song set. Noel was joined onstage by a drummer and bass player, as well as Boosh co-conspirator Julian Barrett. They were also joined by Bollo actor Dave Brown for the last two songs and Rich Fulcher, in full Bob Fossil get-up, for the last number.

The show as a whole was great, like a comedy equivalent to Cirque-De-Soleil. Things are looking pretty great for Noel Fielding at the moment. He’s got a sell-out Mighty Boosh tour scheduled for later in the year (the demand has been such that they’ve had to add a second Wembley Arena date), a film planned for next year and a growing following Stateside. Man, I wish I was Noel Fielding.