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Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo | reviews, news & interviews

Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo

Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo

Surreal fun from a delightfully playful comic

Noel Fielding's show is a mixture of stand-up, mixed media and sketch comedy

Many of the audience for An Evening with Noel Fielding were still in nappies when the comic first plied his trade as one half of The Mighty Boosh with Julian Barrett, which started life on the Edinburgh Fringe in the late 1990s and quickly became a cult hit.

But since Howard Moon and Vince Noir have been put into mothballs, Noel Fielding has forged a career as an actor (The IT Crowd), television host (Never Mind the Buzzcocks), and the creator of several outlandish characters in various solo TV projects, most recently Luxury Comedy.

In his new show – Fielding's first major live outing as a solo performer – his often silly material has a delightfully child-like component despite the title's old-school nod and the fact that the comic makes repeated references to his age. “I'm 41,” he says self-mockingly several times in the evening as he finds himself performing as a plump chicken or a cowboy with unfeasibly bandy legs, as if he really should have grown out of such things by now. What he also hasn't grown out of, thankfully, is theatrical attire – and he comes on stage dressed in cuban heels, tight, sparkly pants and a voluminous cloak.

You have to pay attention at the start of Fielding's utterly bizarre yet engrossing stories

The show is a mixture of stand-up (well, surreal storytelling) about being a teabag, cheating wives and encountering mad monkeys in the Costa Rican rainforest, mixed media and wacky sketches performed with Tom Meetan and his brother Michael Fielding, culminating in a kidnapping drama involving his New York cop character, Raymond Boombox.

The feline and sexually ambiguous comic invents a wife – purely to construct a gag, as he tells us in one of several deconstructions of his act – who, he says, he found in bed with a triangle (you have to go with the flow). “I think it was an isosceles,” Fielding says as a throwaway gag, one of several that rely on his audience of hipsters getting the references (Charles Bukowski and the Chapman Brothers also get namechecks): “You don't get this at a John Bishop gig.”

But it's not all intellectual tomfoolery, although there's much of it; a character called Antonio Banderas also makes an appearance, as does Diego Maradona, and characters old and new are on stage.

You have to pay attention at the start of Fielding's utterly bizarre yet engrossing stories to get full value as they twist and turn and end in unpredictable places; let your mind drift and you will get hopelessly lost. Wit and invention of this quality are difficult to maintain over more than two hours – and don't here, as energy levels fall away in each half. But Fielding's wonderfully playful spirit enriches the evening, and when it's good, it's very, very good.

  •  Noel Fielding is touring until 24 February 2015
His often silly material has a delightfully child-like component

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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