Wednesday 21st April

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Adam Riches: “Acting didn’t satisfy the side of my brain that was interested in challenging myself riskily.”

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Adam Riches may be one of the most charming, loquacious masochists around.  

The performer whose commitment to art saw him shatter his right leg from the knee down when performing at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008 but reappear four days later in a wheelchair.  A character comedian who acknowledges that his chosen style – often incorporating a large slice of audience participation – means “effectively ruining your sketch immediately from the ideal”.  And a risk-taker who’s chosen to revisit a show that, in his own words, “bombed so badly in 2003 that it took me a very long time to get over.”

Given this, it’s no surprise to see the former Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner take the unusual step of putting on five different shows at Network Theatre this week as part of Vault Festival, including that ill-fated 2003 production, Plat Du Nuit: The Comeback Special.  He’s actually taking on seven scripts, given that Thursday’s performance combined three works-in-progress – Coach Coach 2: Coach Harder, The Lone Dueller and The Guy You … – that will develop into stand-alone shows at this year’s Fringe.  This partly explains why he’s taken on this challenge.

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Category: Comedy
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Naomi Sheldon: “I’d love a world where we reclaim our emotions, not wait for them to affect our mental health.”

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Naomi Sheldon’s an ideal inspiration for anyone stuck in a rut.  In just two years, she’s gone from frustrated actress to creator and star of one of the most powerful, talked about plays in London.  

Good Girl, which Sheldon wrote in 2016 and debuted at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, runs for five nights at Vault Festival from tomorrow before transferring to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios for four weeks.  And in between performances, she’s busy penning the screenplay for a TV adaptation in conjunction with Clerkenwell Films, the company behind the highly acclaimed Misfits and The End of the F*cking World.

It’s quite a turnaround for the engaging Sheldon who, despite learning drama at the same school as Dame Judi Dench, had grown disillusioned by the lack of “juicy, meaty parts” available.  “I felt unsatisfied as an actor,” she says, “so thought about writing my own solo show.  I quickly realised that’s relatively easy to do, as you don’t need to wait for permission from the industry.  It’s an incredibly empowering process.”

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Category: Comedy
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Lauren Silver: Surprise! review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer and Reviewer

Lauren Silver’s superb show exposes her anxiety in the most visceral, warm and entertaining of ways

Anyone who’s attended an arts festival in recent years couldn’t help but notice the positive trend of performers talking about their mental health in a way that many would’ve recoiled from a decade ago.  This year’s Vault Festival is no different, with the likes of Sofia Del Pizzo, Naomi Sheldon and Joz Norris putting on important shows that address and explore anxiety, depression and related conditions.

Where Lauren Silver’s excellent piece of theatrical comedy differs is in actually provoking her social and anticipation anxiety to appear on stage.  She doesn’t just talk about it: she makes us live it with her.

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Category: Comedy