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Bring Me The Head Of Adam Riches

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Corry Shaw

He's done it again. Adam Riches has exceeded expectations and produced an show so brilliantly funny and entertaining I had to check my watch as I couldn't believe that I'd been watching him for an hour.

Riches is quite simply one of the best character/sketch comedians in the country and he never fails to come up with new characters and scenarios that leave his audience rapt and in stitches.

He is unique, a genuine original who specialises in long set pieces heavily reliant in his ability to charm and even brainwash his audience to do his bidding. This can occasionally backfire (as it did last year) as he is not for the shy or faint hearted. But tonight every one of the numerous 'volunteers' were terrific and added to the blitz spirit and all-consuming sense of fun.

There is boundless energy in this electric performer, from the moment he launches on stage with unshakable confidence and charisma, flinging business cards into the audience and announcing himself as Ian Dustry, talent scout. There is a tirade of platitudes and compliments, not just to the audience who he wants to sign on to his agency's books but to the lighting rig, the walls and even the stage. It is relentless, not just in speed and volume but in laughs. He's barely been on stage for three minutes and people are already wiping the tears from their eyes.

This year Riches has added an element of danger to his show, including an indoor Swingball tournament which must be giving his insurers sleepless nights. And yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. He lures the perfect folly from the audience to compete against his Spanish champion Pedro Azul, and jokes that even the most hardened of comedy critics think they can spot a mile off end up twisting and turning as Riches keeps delivering curveballs in every sense of the word.

Riches fans will be saddened to learn that Victor Legit isn't back this year but we are treated to sketches from his Daniel Day Lewis and O'Hara characters who have featured in his previous shows. The Daniel Day Lewis sketch is a true delight, showcasing all the best elements of a Riches show in one fell swoop: audience interaction, solid narrative, a genuinely surreal element, lots of shouting, a twist at the end and just some outrageously funny writing.

Throughout the hour we get to meet and know Riches’s sidekicks. Ben Wilson from the Idiots Of Ants returns for more brutal punishment while new recruit Lee Griffiths from Late Night Gimp Fight learns the humiliation when their taskmaster demands an audience member applies an anal douche with a water pistol. Both foils are superb in their various roles which include monsters, Swingball poles and a telepathic woman. The crowd delight in seeing them corpse or mess up, knowing full well that Riches will berate them soundly, providing even more laughs.

It is very hard to explain or do justice to this show. It is tightly choreographed chaos, well scripted 'ad libs', completely unlovable characters that people adore, surreal scenarios which are made believable. It's a struggle to know what actually goes on in the head of Adam Riches, but when he pours it on to the stage he produces something magical.

Review date: 7 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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