The Foster’s Best Comedy Show prize went to the 38-year-old comedian for what the judges described as his “trademark mix of character comedy, anarchic stagecraft and a fearless level of audience engagement” in “Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches.”
They said he had created “a cavalcade of barely controlled chaos” in featuring such characters as Ian Dustry the talent manager, Pedro the swingball star, O’Hara the monster hunter, and the wheelchair-bound despot behind the board game Mastermind.
Riches said of his show: “It is very physical character comedy, very fast paced with a lot of audience interaction as well. They’re embroiled in the story and events, just sort of lively. That was just what I always wanted to do in Edinburgh.
“I’m conscious of the weather, conscious of people’s moods, conscious that they have seen six or seven shows that day, so I wanted to devise something (that) swept them up, shook them up a bit and then booted them back out in to the festival.”
The best newcomer award went to another Londoner, Humphrey Ker, for his critically-acclaimed sympathetic yet humorous portrayal of his grandfather’s part as a Royal Navy intelligence officer in the raid on the Ploesti oil fields immediately after Romania entered World War Two on the German side.
“It was one of those incredible stories nobody knew about out of so many incredible stories of the war… it’s quite loosely based. My version of the story takes extreme liberties, I make him younger, I made him more like me, so in my version I made him somewhat more hapless, a victim of fate, really.”
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