Adam Riches Rides!, Pleasance Courtyard

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The Independent Culture

“Do you know what I smell in this room?” bellows Adam Riches. “Fear!”. It’s little wonder. Audiences at this character comedian’s show rarely get off lightly. This year, those foolish enough to sit on the front row are invited/ forced to pose for pictures with a deadly beetle, shoot imaginary guns and, probably the worst option, become a milkmaid. Even those who aren’t pulled up on stage find themselves liberally spritzed with spit.

Last year Riches introduced us to his hilarious Rogue Males – a quartet of macho men from big game hunter O’Hara to Daniel Day Lewis. This year there’s more of the same but it feels a less coherent hour with more focus on noise, trickery and audience participation and less on writing developed characters.

Still, there’s plenty to savour here from the depths of Riches’ brilliantly surreal mind. Pierce Brosnan becomes a centaur and there’s a midget cowboy with a horse called Glue plus a messy return for the video piracy campaigner Victor Legit. Riches’ energy never dips once and, a masterful ad-libber, he just about keeps hold of the reins over the course of an increasingly anarchic hour.

To 30 Aug (0131 556 6550)