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Adam Riches Rides!

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Corry Shaw

Adam Riches certainly created a buzz last year and although it was always going to be difficult for him to match that perfection, he certainly gets close with his new stable of characters and sketches.

This year we see even more audience interaction as we become an integral part of almost every sketch, be it as active stage hands throwing on props, main characters in the narrative or simply the riders of the Centaur Pierce Brosnan – yes, it is as surreal as it sounds.

Heavily dependent on his audiences willingness to join in and have fun, it is vital that Riches chooses the right bystanders to take part. So it is a huge shame that part of his front row today are not only reluctant but actually obstructive. Being the consummate showman, Riches makes the most of the difficult situation and even with the standoffish helpers, he still manages to create a captivating and hilarious hour.

Only on the Fringe and only in a Riches production would the opening feature the weird centaur performing a showbiz song-and-dance number. And he starts the way he means to go on, with everything pushed to the limits of oddness while remaining firmly inside the boundaries of hilarity.

Alongside the new addition, old favourite Victor Legit, the copyright enforcement officer, is back and he is packing more Yakult – much to the delight of those who have seen Riches perform before. Again there is a bizarre twist as Legit straps a panel of Yakult to his chest and encourages one of the more enthusiastic members of the front row to pound it with boxing gloves. Strange, superb and brilliantly funny.

There is a running narrative this year which I feel may have constricted Riches as the sketches least dependant on this arc were more entertaining than the ones that progressed the story. That said, there are huge laughs throughout and the sheer power of Riches’s boundlessly likeable performance pulls us through the very minor blips.

The main blip being what seems to be the scourge of this year’s sketch shows – technical problems. The sound levels are off on some of the audio used in scene transitions making it difficult to hear what’s going on. One of the sketches is lost as it is impossible to hear the voiceover and we are left to try to work out what is going on as Riches mimes punching cows onstage. It appears it is a pivotal scene and it takes a while to catch up with the narrative – a needless mistake.

Don't miss your chance to see this amazing performer in an intimate space, as it cannot be long before fame and TV steal him away from the Fringe. And if you do end up in the front row, please play along…

Review date: 20 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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