Adam Riches: Be Afraid, All Ye Who Enter Here
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆
You don't go to see Adam Riches for wry political insight. You don't go to see Adam Riches for gentle narrative storytelling. You go to see Adam Riches because he is insane — and we mean utterly, has no shame, misplaced his marbles — and the laughter that explodes from your gut is part hilarity, part nervousness at wondering where the hell this man is going to go next.
If you know one thing about Adam Riches, it's that his shows need lots of audience participation. His sketches and characters rely heavily on bellowing witty, self reverential and self deprecating observations in increasing stages of undress, but you know it won't be long before his twinkly eye rests on some audience member (by the way, avoiding the front row won't save you. Nor will ignoring him; that just spurs him on) and this unwitting member of the public finds themselves straddling Riches while wielding a shaver.
It's testament to his charm that none of the antics feel cruel or forced (god knows, we've got first hand experience of being up there), although Riches might be succumbing to his own success — some of the people on the front row wanted to be on stage a little bit too much. He's good at spotting, and avoiding, the obvious attention seekers, and is sharp and quick witted enough to keep control of his stage at all times (the show is really part sketch, part improv).
If we have any criticism, it's that perhaps people think they know what they're getting. Adam Riches is best when he's wrongfooting you, prompting guffaws of shock and awe. But some of the characters in this show are a bit too similar to his Edinburgh winning barnstormer — Sean Bean is Daniel Day-Lewis with a Northern accent, and we're sure we saw the final sketch as work in progress several years ago, though it never got into previous finished shows because it presumably didn't make the grade. It's tough to follow up what was basically The Best Comedy Show We've Ever Seen and while it's great to get a sequel, maybe we need something new next time before the audience gets too complacent.
Adam Riches: Adam of the Riches is on at Soho Theatre, Dean Street W1, until 3 January 2015. Tickets £12.50-£20. Londonist saw this performance on a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 11 December 2014