Adam Riches Is Coach Coach at Soho TheatreCultureTheatre
Sitting at the bleachers and waving a complimentary flag, Adam Riches’ anarchic sports comedy feels a lot like testosterone-fuelled team spirit at its best.
The 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner brings his highly entertaining Coach Coach show to London’s Soho Theatre, where mayhem is guaranteed. Riches plays Texan Volfsball coach Eric, a part-time chewing gum addict and a full-time motivator for his team the Centaurs. The show’s premise is based around a high-stakes play-off between the fledgling Centaurs (who are yet to win a game) and the over-competitive Lizards (who have won every game), with a mighty showdown of cinematic quality, complete with dramatic voiceovers. Straying from his usual one-man performances, Riches ropes in a well-selected cast who don’t disappoint.
Making up Team Centaur is the endearing double left-armed Memphis Alabaster (played by Nick Hall) and confident Tug Heartstrings (played by Charles Booth), who refuse to be knocked down by their rivals or by the bellowing voice of their coach. However, the most notable and enjoyable performance after Riches himself, is the Lizards’ virile star player, Swish Swisherstein (played hilariously by Daniel Cook). Sleazy till the end, Swish is undeniably funny, with Cook delivering a side-splitting performance.
Relationships are explored as much as sport in Riches’ narrative; family is hailed as being equally important to the game itself. The failed attempts by Mrs Coach (played by Stevie Martin) to rid her husband of his gum-chewing ways provide a welcome contrast to the dramatic sports scenes, alongside daughter Missy’s (Emma Sidi) relationship with the hairy Willy T Wolf (played by John Kearns). Sidi’s portrayal of Missy as a fearless firecracker intent on proving herself is impressive to watch.
A heavy-hitter with his jokes, Riches doesn’t shy away from mocking his own narrative, his disarming honesty making the show all the more appealing. Famous for dragging members of the audience onto the stage during his stand-up routines, Riches doesn’t disappoint here, inviting unpredictable audience participation.
Championing roars from a baying audience are to be expected at the end when the show culminates in a crucial, down-to-the-wire moment: literally anything can happen. A parody of sports clichés performed by an excellent team, Riches’ Coach Coach is an interactive comedy that wins big.
Adam Riches is Coach Coach is on at Soho Theatre from 14th March until 2nd April 2016, for further information or to book visit here.