Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Inane Chicanery of a Certain Adam GC Riches, Pleasance Dome

The thing about plucking someone from the audience to take part in your heavily immersive sketch is that you have to pick the right person. On the night I was in Adam Riches, who is usually spot-on with his choices, kicked off by pulling out the most awkward man in the room. I could see him flinch a few times when Riches got close and then after Riches tried to say they were friends he answered with a brusque “I’m not your friend. Fuck Off.” At least his victim sat down and didn’t leave the gig or punch the award-winning star.  

And, of course, the gig got much better after that initially tense moment. Riches’ last shows up here was the more theatrical Coach Coach, but here he is back to doing what he does best creating wildly odd sketches - not odd in a surreal way, mind – in which the audience is integral but Riches is still the main attraction.

He opens as shouty macho movie star Gerard Butler, guiding pupils through Sniper School. His portrayal of Butler is pretty similar to his previous portrayal of macho movie star Sean Bean, but that doesn’t make it any less funny. Particularly when he ends up on the floor with a new recruit perched on his back firing a toy gun at some butter, William Tell style.

Elsewhere the sketches ranges from the good to the high-energy, hair-raisingly brilliant and over-the-top (Adam, you can use the second bit of that description on your posters). They include a low-key Gallic seducer, an author with feet for hands and a BMX stunt-rider who does his tricks sans bike and a cowboy with a penchant for big hats.

To go into more detail would spoilt the fun. And also I was so terrified of being plucked to take part that I didn’t have my notebook out in case it attracted attention. Funnily a colleague did say don’t worry, he doesn’t pick out critics, but he did on this occasion, albeit by accident. I’m looking forward to reading the review on Spiked.

Riches is an astonishingly fearless and skilful performer who does like to push things to the limit though and I did think that in the final sketch he may have gone too far. In the past he has been fed apple juice dribbled from a fan’s mouth into his mouth. This variant involved a different foodstuff and the volunteer removing his footwear. I won’t say more, except that if Riches had asked his first volunteer to do this he’d probably be performing the rest of his run with two black eyes. 

The Inane Chicanery of a Certain Adam GC Riches, Pleasance Dome until August 27. Tickets here.

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