Riches lives up to his name with comedy prize
A show of 'barely controlled chaos' wins the £10,000 award – and guaranteed fame – for Adam Riches at the Edinburgh Festival
Sunday 28 August 2011
Comic Adam Riches was once "brought down by friendly bacteria" at the Edinburgh Fringe when he slipped on some yogurt and broke his leg. But yesterday his energetic style earned him a more welcome souvenir – the £10,000 prize for the festival's best comedy show.
The 38-year-old won a Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award for Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches, an anarchic character show that has played to full houses at Pleasance Courtyard. The show, one of 505 eligible for the prize, has received four- and five-star reviews. Nica Burns, producer of the awards, said Riches was "utterly original, extremely funny and a huge talent. He will no doubt be seen on your television screens in the near future."
A University of Salford drama graduate who lives in Kew in west London, Riches has a background in theatre and is also a playwright. He has performed at the Fringe on five occasions, and his energetic, physical style has led to the occasional setback.
It was during his 2008 show, about a theatrical agent who is obsessed with fitness and Yakult, that Riches slipped on the yogurt and broke his leg. But despite undergoing an operation, he returned to the stage three days later because, he said yesterday, "I couldn't afford to lose any more money. I was skint."
Despite the mishap, Riches's 2011 show also has audience participation and madcap physicality, and in one section, where Riches relentlessly guys Daniel Day-Lewis – "the most successful actor to appear in nobody's favourite film" – he is picked up and thrown by three members of the audience. But the performer dismissed any concerns about his safety. "I thought, after breaking my leg, what's the worst that can happen?" he said.
"The show takes a huge amount of concentration to perform every day, but winning this makes it worthwhile. I've played the Fringe before when nobody came or people walked out of my shows, so it's nice that people have responded to it."
The judges said the comic's original mix of characters, which include Pedro the swingball star, "ups the visual ante and creates a cavalcade of barely controlled chaos".
The newcomer award went to Humphrey Ker, 28, for Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!, a story of derring-do loosely based on the exploits of his grandfather, a naval commander and intelligence officer who in the Second World War was parachuted behind enemy lines in Romania to destroy a German supply route.
After he was presented with his £5,000 award by 2002 nominee Omid Djalili and last year's winner, Russell Kane, the comic revealed that his other grandfather, Dick Ker, had an equally interesting war and that his story may even form the basis of next year's show.
The special panel prize went to The Wrestling, a one-off show in which 20 comedians took part in wrestling bouts with eight professional wrestlers. The judges described it as "the most outrageous night the Pleasance has ever seen". It was the brainchild of Max Olesker, formerly the youngest pro wrestler in the UK, and Ivan Gonzalez of the sketch duo Max and Ivan.
arts + entsThere were towering ideas, some scintillating performances and revelatory grooves... our writers pick out their personal highlights
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
peoplePrepare to be entranced by worms as the molecular biologist gets ready to give the Royal Institution science lectures
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
voicesPeople moan that Christmas is too commercial, the spirit lost. But it is a time to over-indulge, and always has been, says DJ Taylor
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
food + drinkA trifle without custard? Surely not! Nonsense – and here’s three to finish your festive meal that prove it
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Arts & Ents blogs
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >