Review: Adam Riches's Coach Coach Is So So

Coach Coach, Soho Theatre ★★★☆☆

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 33 months ago
Review: Adam Riches's Coach Coach Is So So Coach Coach, Soho Theatre 3

We've been smacked with the punchline before we're even in our seat.

Adam Riches — clobbered up like a basketball coach and loudly masticating on gum — gives us a pally slap on the back and yells at us to 'go central' (he's referring to the seats in Soho Theatre).

Usually you'd be wary to heed this man's advice. The marble-misplacing comic built his reputation by picking on hapless audience members and forcing them into scenarios that involve straddling him while wielding a shaver. If you cowered in the toilets he'd sniff you out in an instant.

But Riches's latest show, Coach Coach, takes a different tack. Surrounding himself with a sizeable cast, he's created an hour-long parody of the all-American sports movie. And viewers of a nervous disposition will be relieved to hear there is minimal audience participation.

His Coach Coach is a troubled man, haunted by missing a crucial hoop 25 years ago, and determined to win his final 'volksball' game with his beloved Centaurs, before chucking in the sweaty towel.

It's a neat idea, and comes with some mirthsome send-ups of the genre: a player with two left hands, a fractured relationship with his 'non male' offspring, a home-wrecking addiction to Wrigley's.

Unfortunately, none of this is quite enough to elevate the show from what it essentially is: one single gag. Sports movie parodies are hardly something new, and Coach Coach could quite easily be a 10-minute SNL skit, rather than something you pay £15 for.

The cast's delivery — including a cameo from a chair-bound Richard Gadd, and some first class corpsing — just about save the day. So too does the only real bit of audience participation, right at the end of the show.

But for a comedian of Riches's pedigree, Coach Coach is hardly a slam dunk.

Coach Coach is on at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE until 2 April. Tickets £15 (concessions £12.50). Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 18 March 2016