There’s an inevitable scene in Journey Of The Childmen in which screaming young fans, many dressed up for the occasion, mob the Mighty Boosh boys’ car as they leave a book-signing. It demonstrates just how many people would be desperate to experience what it’s like to be on tour with Noel and Julian.
And the answer, as shown by this fly-on-the wall account of their 2008 Future Sailors tour is … utterly tedious.
There are endless scenes of the pair and their co-stars kicking around backstage, sitting in traffic, or driving along motorways. Such mundane images might appear out of step with their near-rock-star status, but there are plenty of similarly languid music documentaries showing the monotony behind the on-stage pyrotechnics; and this can only reinforce Brand Boosh.
The repetitive feeling of ‘another day, another theatre’ in a drab British landscape certainly comes across, and the pair appear increasingly weary offstage, especially Fielding. ‘It’s the after-show activities that are killing me,’ he confesses as he lays flat-out on the floor of one anonymous dressing room. But the partying, like the performances themselves, are kept off screen – this the story of the bleary, dreary mornings after, not the energy and verve of the night before.
The pair come across as unaffectedly charming and with their long friendship marked by an unspoken intimacy. They are still nervous and listless before shows – although Rich Fulcher’s mania seems to have no off switch – and that oxymoronically tense boredom is well captured in long scenes. There’s also the odd glimpse of the creative process as they try to get material in shape, apparently moments before they go on stage in some cases, but it’s only a glimpse.
Though a modestly enjoyable portrait, there is an inescapable feeling that this isn’t quite substantial enough a film; a great DVD extra, but not enough to stand alone. Indeed, an extended preview was included on the Future Sailors release itself, giving a sense of déjà vu.
But its nicely put together and film-maker Oliver Ralfe, or Jimmy the Reach as Boosh fans might know him, has added a few Boosh-like touches of his own, including some charming animations and bizarre dream-like interludes, such as Julian visiting a castle.
The result is a curiosity, perhaps one more for fans of the naturalistic Dogme 95 style of filmmaking than fans of junkie foxes or disembodied, tentacled, pink-headed Cockneys.
The Mighty Boosh On Tour: Journey Of The Childmen
Running time: 80 Minutes
Extras: Short films Savage Canvas, HIV The Musical with Martin Freeman and Dave The Lighthouse Man. Noel & Julian's Glasgow Film Festival intro, Wonderful World of Death trailer.
Released by: Universal Pictures, November 15
Price: £19.99. Click here to buy from Amazon for £12.93