Picture Gallery: Mighty Boosh photo exhibition shows real side of Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt

Behind The Boosh: Mighty Boosh photographs by Dave Brown, Proud Camden

Behind The Boosh: Mighty Boosh photographs by Dave Brown, Proud Camden - Credit: Archant

Photos taken by Mighty Boosh member Dave Brown capture life when the cameras stop rolling

When comedy troupe The Mighty Boosh burst onto British television back in 2004, they charmed a nation with a humour so surreal it made The Young Ones look like Dad’s Army.

Playing creatures made entirely from cheese and bubblegum, crack-addicted foxes and green, polo-eyed cockney psychopaths, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt led a new wave of left-field comedy that assaulted the senses into giddy submission.

As their fellow Boosh star Dave Brown can testify, it’s made for rich pickings at his new exhibition at Proud Galleries in Camden Town.

“It’s a photographer’s dream,” he says. “The colour, the costumes, the … ridiculousness. I loved capturing the moments behind the camera – Noel making his lunch half in costume as [cockney purple squid alien] Tony Harrison or Julian making a phone call dressed as [High Priest of the Order of the Psychedelic Monks] Rudy Van DiSarzio.”

Famed for his role as Bollo the talking ape, Brown became friends with Fielding at university and used to perform alongside him and Barrett at comedy nights in Islington.

It was there that the key Boosh characters were formed and when the show took off after stints at the Edinburgh Fringe, Brown was on hand with his camera.

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“I was shooting this stuff from day one, so they capture something that no one else really has. Noel’s always said he found it hilarious how I’d often have my camera out, taking pictures while almost fully dressed as this massive gorilla.”

Many of the stand-out photos highlight the physical toll of the Boosh’s live shows, which eventually led to the group taking an extended break in 2009.

While, for instance, one picture of Rich Fulcher stretching shows the boundless energy that made his character Bob Fossil a fan favourite, there is also the darker comedy of an energy-drained Barratt leaning against his dressing table as a tongue-in-cheek note reminds him where and when he’s performing.

“That tour was full on – six nights a week for four months … and then there were the nights out, the after-parties. The demands were getting a bit frightening and it felt like the right time to take a break.

“There was never any sort of fallout or big break-up. It’s just that after the last tour, Julian and Noel just wanted to do their own thing for a bit as well.”

Coinciding with the launch of his exhibition, the Boosh also returned last month to play several warm-up shows for last weekend’s Festival Supreme performance in America.

While Bollo couldn’t make the journey – “try to get a full-sized gorilla suit through US customs” – Brown has enjoyed playing with Fielding and Barratt again and says they’re “as amazing as they’ve ever been”.

He doesn’t rule out further Boosh projects, but nothing is set in stone. In the meantime, there’s plenty for fans to enjoy at Proud Galleries in Stables Market until December 1.