Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Adam Riches enters as the coach who was the Volksball player that nearly won it for the Centaurs 25 years ago. Given the ball for a shot that would have consigned defeat to a memory for the team that had never won against the Lizards; he missed. Now as the coach, in his final year as coach of the Centaurs he has the opportunity of making amends and gaining that W. With his wife backing him, to a certain extent, his daughter knocking him with some serious teenage kicks we are in for a treat that could see the Centaurs win for the first time in 75 attempts; it’s all really up to one of us…
Riches is an assured performer with a heady line is self deprecation. He doesn’t so much entice you into his world as take you there in a headlock. This is theatre that is designed to be comic, touch upon the absurd and avoid any necessary life lessons that people will quote back as mantras in several years’ time. Surrounded by a number of other misfits – including the guy with two left arms, a couple of Lizards that look like extras from Deliverance and a wife with moveable pregnant bump – this has all the hallmarks of great comedy. My favourite part comes when it is ended and Teen Wolf waits for his romantic moment.
Riches has clearly worked the circuit well as it sometimes does meander from its chosen path and he is able to make comedy capital out of that. The sub plot of a chewing gum addiction and the set pieces of training and classrooms all add to a brilliant hour in the company of a cheerleading audience who know that disaster is but a slipped pass away. Never less than slick the pace that Riches infuses each scene with means that pauses for breath are luxuries we can ill afford and to be honest rarely wish them.
As a package and vehicle for Riches this works very well. The audience participation and directly addressing them adds to the absurdity and comic element of the piece. There is a multiplicity of targets and the inspired use of eighties films like Teen Wolf takes it into another dimension. That we feel we are in Pleasance High at a Volksball final is down to the attention to detail in set and costumes which makes this one late night show for which you should make a beeline.