The Mighty Boosh, Apollo, Hammersmith, London

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The Independent Culture

Beyond the flim-flammery, though, Barratt and Fielding certainly have presence. The latter's vain Bambi act is winning, adding extra sparkle to ideas such as sawing through a calculator "to see where the numbers live". At other times he shows bite, especially in his Victorian cockney villain alter ego. Perhaps too much bite - the references to bestial activity would probably keep the RSPCA awake at night, if not the Boosh's younger fans.

Barratt, meanwhile, has a weary gravitas. He delivers wry Yorkshire-accented asides at the expense of the show, such as asking the Bob Fossil character (an ad-libbing Rich Fulcher), "What have you been up to, that's in the script?"

There is a storyline, but that fact I only mention it now shows it is hardly relevant to the pantomime proceedings. Indeed, the intro where the duo banter and the other characters (including Bollo the gorilla and the cute, mute, shaman Naboo) are brought on stage takes up almost half the show. Once underway, the duo must find a magical ruby to revive Naboo, cruelly knifed by cockney villain, The Hitcher. On their way, various other characters are encountered before normality - such as it is - is resumed.

The story is rather stretched and is in desperate need of a big ending but there are charming touches like a dippy moon character who wonders if he should have been a better host when Neil Armstrong visited, and Barratt's monk character (complete with a door in his afro haircut) in a scene where the banter between the duo seems markedly more substantial than elsewhere.

The word "Boosh" came from a malapropism for a bushy, bouffant haircut, and while it would seem to refer to Noel Fielding, it was actually his brother Michael (Naboo) whose hairdo inspired the term. Either way, the duo's title invites barbershop analogies of which, on this occasion, "needs a trim" and "more highlights" spring to mind.

Touring to 20 April (www.themightyboosh.com)

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