Noel Fielding: Voodoo Hedgehog Perrier nominee

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

Surreal is the new 'zany' - the lazy way for the talentless to pretend they are funny. After all, simply juxtaposing some incongruous words is a hell of a lot easier than actually writing jokes.

It was with some surprise, then, that I actually warmed to Noel Fielding's charming show.

Things didn't start promisingly, with the Vic Reeves-esque announcement: "Please fill a boat full of Vimto and welcome on stage the King of Sardinia"

And when the fast-talking Fielding took to the stage, he started babbling about not needing jokes, just "a project".

But there are things resembling jokes here, and some solid stand-up routines, too. Though often when stuck for a real punchline, he'll wind up by muttering something abstract that sounds a bit funny, like 'chaffinch'.

He's self-conscious about it, and endearingly criticises his own lack of structure, though it doesn't actually stop him from doing it.

Mostly, though, Fielding relies on that childlike delight of finding absolutely everything - no matter how trivial or stupid - fascinating and fun. And it does prove very infectious.

As the show progresses, Fielding drops the chatty stand-up to take the audience into the magical twilight world of the woodland, inhabited by such fantastical creatures as the man with back-to-front ram's legs and Mario, the shadow-bumming wolf.

But Fielding's coup de grace is his sidekick - The Moon.

Suspended above the stage, this charming simpleton comments on the action and fills in between segments with tales of his lunar adventures.

And, at the show's finale, the moon projects simply the most charming piece of animation you'll ever see, completing the tale of the characters we've met over the previous hour and their encounters with the Jelly Fox.

This is more a show about atmosphere and magic than it is about solid jokes. And as such it's a huge triumph, it's Narnia-like charm strong enough bewitch the most hard-hearted cynic. Quite delightful.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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