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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

TV– Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy | Lysergic Casserole | E4

After the wonderful Mighty Boosh it seemed to many that the flamboyant Noel Fielding may be happy coasting on his coat tails – Never Mind The Buzzcocks, chat shows, hanging with rock stars.... and err... Horrid Henry: The Movie. So it came as a nice surprise to see the diminishing talent return to fine form with his own new "psychedelic sketch show" Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy.

Granted, not everything is hilarious – and nor should it be, this is as much about stimulating the senses as it is tickling the funny bone. The whole thing hangs together seamlessly as Noel (as himself and a cast of surreal characters), his brother Michael, Tony Meetan, Rich Fulcher and Dolly Wells keep the crazy creation on course. Its premise (if explainable) is that Noel, his cleaner (Andy Warhol, who speaks like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Smooth (a kind of elephant/ant eater man) and the seductive femme fatale Dolly live in a tree house together... which is the easy bit... whilst Noel's bizarre and often frightening characters (Ghost Of A Flea and Jelly Fox) trippily appear throughout in a connected/non-connected hallucinogenic manner.

Fielding's acting is faultless with the ’80s cop with talking scars Sergeant Ray Boombox and the PE teacher chocolate finger Roy Circles offering the viewer some brilliantly realised and written dialogue and characterisation.

As one would hope, the surreal animation, art and music (co-written by Kasabian's Sergio Pizzorno) prevent the piece from becoming just another "sketch show". In fact, the loose and almost plausible narrative behind the key players almost hold it together, giving the episodes the semblance of an actual situation rather than a series of non-linear sketches.

Fielding's beloved Georges Méliès collide with Jan Švankmajer's dreamlike creations, art is constantly referenced and there are regular nods to all of the weird forefathers – the ones people have never been able to decide whether funny or just mentally disturbed (The Goons, Python, Marty Feldman, Spike Milligan, Kenny Everett and Chris Morris's more recent Blue Juice). Finally, a liberal dose of that all knowing nod to the East London brigade's love of ironic post-modern pop culture never lets go. Combined together it bubbles away in a mesmerising stew.

Psychedelia is alive and kicking thanks to Channel Four!

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