Edinburgh loves Adam Riches. His last three shows at the Fringe have been sell outs, yet so far London has stood back and deferred its judgement. What the hell is wrong with you, London?
This collection of boisterous sketches, a best-of compilation from his last three Edinburgh runs, is high on energy and audience participation, but charming enough that it doesn't feel like anyone's getting picked on. Not the guys asked to reveal their chest hair for a game show, the chap riding around on Pierce Brosnan (who turns out to be a centaur, don't you know) or the lone female latecomer who Riches decides can save any sketches that end badly - by kissing whichever member of the audience (of either gender) happens to be helping out.
Some sketches do end badly - not because of poor writing or a lame gag, but there are a few technical hitches that call for some swift veering off-script. Mind you, the sheer amount of crowd involvement means Riches is thinking on his feet an awful lot, and it wouldn't surprise us if some of those sound-effect fluffs were deliberately in keeping with the faintly shambolic atmosphere.
For all the rumbunctiousness and dumb sight gags with Yakult, there's a rich intelligence underlying the more scripted sections and some excellent wordplay. In the intimate (i.e. small) setting of Leicester Square Theatre's Lounge, this is a great all-round show.
But next time, we're going to absolutely make sure we double-check when the show starts.
Adam Riches: Manthology runs until 15th May at the Leicester Square Theatre. Times 7pm Wed-Thu, 7.30pm Fri-Sat, 1pm Sunday + 3pm 8th May, tickets £12 / £10. We saw this show free on a press ticket.