Comedian looks to a bright future following Edinburgh success

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A comedian is riding high after being shortlisted for a top award at Edinburgh's fringe festival.

Comic Matt Ralph and his four friends became a hit act at the festival this summer with their faced-paced sketch show, the Late Night Gimp Fight.

The group was shortlisted for the prestigious Best Newcomer award in The Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Awards - which has helped launch the careers of top comics such as Harry Hill and The Mighty Boosh.

They unfortunately missed out on the top prize, but speaking from Edinburgh, Matt, 25, from Cowplain, said: 'It's gone absolutely crazy here - we've had photoshoots and everything.

'This is a dream come true.'

It hasn't always been plain sailing for Matt. He was in a wheelchair from the age of seven until 12 because of a rare bone disease.

Matt said: 'It's called Perthes disease. Your bones actually dissolve.

'The doctors think I had it from birth but no-one realised until I started developing a limp and that's when I had an X-ray and it was picked up.

'I had quite a few operations and I could not support weight on my legs. I couldn't do sports, so I got into drama instead.'

Matt started going to Act One Youth Theatre in Bedhampton and realised his passion for performing arts.

When he was 12, Matt was given the all-clear by doctors.

He said: 'I decided from then I was going to get involved and do as much as I could. In a way, my illness spurred me on.'

The former South Downs College student moved to London aged 18 to study at East 15 acting school.

There, he met Richard Campbell, David Moon, Lee Griffiths, Paul Biggin and started doing sketch comedy.

'We decided to call our-selves Late Night Gimp Fight simply because it rhymes and sounds quite funny,' said Matt. 'But it stuck and gets more ridiculous every time we go out on stage now.'

The group cites influences from Harry Enfield to The Fast Show. The dream now is to land a TV show.

Matt said: 'Over the next year we're going to spend a lot of time touring with the show, taking it to as many different venues as we can.

'We're performing at The Petersfield School on September 25. We want to get our cult status bigger so when we eventually - fingers crossed - do something for TV, we've got a big enough live audience following us.'