Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks Ja Vu: a Panel Show Sequel

Wed 19th – Sat 22nd October 2016

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 13:30 on 20th Oct 2016

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After a highly successful run last academic year, Have I Got to Mock The Buzzcocks Ja Vu has taken over the 11 pm slot at the ADC Theatre, bringing its loving rip-offs of comedy panel shows to a whole new audience. I saw the show last time around, had great fun, and was eager to come back this time for a second helping. As perhaps the exception which proves the rule, the sequel was every bit as entertaining as the original.

For those of you who are new to this show, Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks Ja Vu is a totally improvised (or so they assure us) mash-up of those comedy panel shows which seem to run in a constant loop on most channels. There are six panellists (Lewis Brierly, Colin Rothwell and Megan Gilbert on one team, Patrick Wilson, Louise Harris and Yaseen Kader on the other) who sit, QI style, in teams of three around host and director Lily Lindon. The games are all familiar too, but feature delightfully altered names like "Would I Tell the Truth to You" and "Just a Bit More than Sixty Seconds". This apparently is partially for laughs, and partially for 'copyright reasons'.

This second incarnation featured a little more audience participation that the previous one, with early arrivals being encouraged to provide book and song titles for upcoming rounds. This turned out to be something of a master stroke from Lindon, as the suggestions (ex. Act out the following book title - The Quran) exposed the inherent strangeness of a Cambridge crowd and got a few massive laughs. Another semi-accidental source of humour was the occasionally lagging projections of game titles by 'Producer' Haydn Jenkins, as well as the use of a number of 'alarms' which you shall have to go and see the show to learn more about.

There were more than a couple of empty seats in the ADC last night, which was a shame for a show as successful as this. I hope that there will be more of a crowd for subsequent performances. But the slightly smaller audience size amplified what might be the show's greatest strength. Just like the most successful comedy panel shows on television, Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks Ja Vu had the ability to make the audience feel a part of proceedings. The laughs were big and the jokes were hilarious, but nothing ever felt too mocking or exclusionary. This made the show not only hilarious, but delightful.

Although the sequel is often disappointing in comparison to the original, this is certainly not the case with Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks Ja Vu. With clever and charming panellists, expert steering of a sometimes unruly ship from Lily Lindon and enough audience participation to keep things interesting, this show will have you laughing until you've remembered where your abdominal muscles are.

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