REVIEWS

"A roaring success at creating vibrant comedy shows across Oxfordshire" 

★★★★

The Oxford Times

 

"Guilty of fun in the first degree" 

★★★★

The Oxford Mail

 

"Jericho Comedy has never disappointed"

DailyInfo

 

"An engaging and entertaining pairing of learning and good humour! Please let’s have them back again, please."

★★★★

The Latest

 

Verdict: Guilty of being hilarious

Daily Info, Katy Hammond

My first time in Oxford Town Hall’s Court Room was much more entertaining than it could have been. This was the setting for Tight Five/Comedy in Oxford’s Mock Trial and it certainly set the scene, with the audience looking round at the grand room in anticipation of what was to come.

Once we had filled out our ‘crime reports’ and handed them back to the cast, we were asked to rise for The Right Honourable Judge Ofthat (Tight Five co-creator Harry Househam). Judge Ofthat made it clear that his courtroom was a place of fun and interest, beginning proceedings by calling on a pair to perform a re-enactment of a most heinous crime selected from the freshly filled out crime reports: wearing a Westlife jumper. After the prosecution and defence had helped inform a concussed criminal that they had indeed murdered some – apparently “not a crime in Oxford” – in the Town Hall (which made it illegal) and the lawyers had a rap battle about the crime of too few water balloons at a birthday party, we moved on to the case at hand: Mrs. Smith stood accused of forcing Mrs. Biggins to jump on a trampoline against her will. Shocking stuff!

While the charge may sound simplistic, nothing could have prepared the audience for the many twists and turns the case took including shocking revelations, corruption, life-changing jumble sales, seemingly endless deceit, adultery and attempted murder – very worthy of a court room drama!

Dom O’Keefe’s creepy winking Mr. Smith, complete with a distinctive ‘Banbury’ accent, was the highlight of the proceedings – O’Keefe’s drawl and deadpan performance drew many laughs from the audience. Chesca Forristal’s Jeeves N Jeeves QC Prosecution, looked and sounded the part, providing many witty retorts and an admirable defence even if she did incriminate herself! Ed Scrivens as the Defence kept in character and actually sounded convincing as a lawyer though I’m not sure I’d trust his qualification from LawAcademy... Vicky Hawley as both the accused's son ‘Just Jim’ and the accused Mrs. Smith was entertaining to watch, giving us some great one-liners. Lydia France as the victim Mrs. Biggins, and later on as the pseudo-scientist, was excellent at improvising and developing a distinctive character on the spot. Pianist Joe Zacaroli enhanced the flashbacks with atmospheric music but I wish he’d been utilised a little more during the trial. Judge Ofthat did well to keep this motley crew under control, ensuring that the correct protocol was followed: “Do you swear on the holy book of horticulture to tell the whole truth?”

The sketch as a whole was very engaging with lots of amusing moments. The cast were most successful when they kept in character without allowing themselves to be distracted by their own funniness. The use of a court room is fantastic – I hope to see more improvised comedy inside unusual venues in the future!

With the sentences handed out - “no internet connection for three years” - and the majority of the guilty parties incarcerated, the audience left amused if slightly disorientated by the evening’s proceedings.

Review: Mock Trial @ Oxford Town Hall - 'Ad-lib courtroom production guilty of fun in the first degree'

Oxford Times, NAOMI LANIGHAN

Judge Ofthat – pronounced ‘Off-tat’ (Harry Househam) greets every ‘jury’ member as we arrive at The Old Court Room in Oxford Town Hall.

Immediately, we are condemned as criminals and handed arbitrary sentences for imagined misdemeanours – all before the show has even started.

As counsel and court ushers show us to our seats, themed music such as Jailhouse Rock is played as a harassed-looking Chesca Forristal scurries up to us. In her best Oxbridge voice, she asks if we could possibly write down some ‘crimes’. She has accidentally just shredded all the evidence for today’s cases. “You know, wearing Crocs on a Tuesday, that sort of thing.” Her impressive facial expressions and chat with the crowd elicit laughter.

A mostly improvised comedy court show, the audience are encouraged before the trial to bring in items to be used as evidence. With law books and evidence bags at the ready, the six young performers are all in character, looking smart in their court dress.

Once proceedings began the actors quick-wittedly bounced off each other, as Harry read out crimes provided by us for Chesca, Oliver Mills, Ed Scrivens, Charlie Powell and Vicky Hawley to hilariously re-enact, before prosecution and defence made their arguments and random sentencing dispensed.

Playing out an ensemble of characters for each case with varying comical accents (a particularly good Australian effort by Vicky for example) – each actor was tested by crimes including Brexit and curvy bananas, as well as by the judge, who interrupted to disapprove of their wording.

Cast members were skilled and confident, tickling the spectators with ad-libs.

Catch it next on Jan 17th. wegottickets.com/TightFive

 

Jericho Comedy Daily Info Review

27th May 2017: stand-up about communication, tattoos and feminist poetry from gender-balanced line-up by María Ordovás-Montañés

Little did I know that the basement of the Jericho Café where I ate Easter brunch with my coursemates would be repurposed into a sold-out underground comedy venue a few weeks later. Subtract the tea, eggs, and toast, add several dozen chairs, procure a microphone, find a few brave souls, lower the lights, and you have the recipe for an enjoyable evening.

Alex Faroe effortlessly served the dual roles of host and compère, doing his own call-ons and warming up the audience. I assumed that sitting in the first row might mean getting singled out, but I did not know my boyfriend would be the first victim: as an American, he was asked to name UK stereotypes, and he became a running joke for several acts, thought it was all in good fun. I especially liked Faroe's post-interval instructional game. Being a philosophy teacher, he did not miss a chance for a learning opportunity to demonstrate that we should not be so quick to judge whether a quotation is a dirty rap lyric from the last two decades, or a line from twentieth century feminist poet Gertrude Stein. Overall, Faroe kept the energy flowing throughout the show; I would like to see him perform a long set next time.

The six comedians performed in rapid-fire succession. They had just enough time to give us a taste of their style but it was not so long for them to lose the audience's interest. Heidi Regan told us about her receptionist career-move from Australia to London, recited a mock-serious poem, and then became political; she hilariously melded together past historical references with current pop culture. Chris D'Silva, probably the youngest comedian of the evening and an American living abroad, engaged the mostly-British audience in his 'Love Letter to New York' by turning it into an ode to pizza. In the third act, Jake Farrell highlighted the importance of clear communication when making plans with a friend and cheekily poked fun at the 'diversity' in his hometown of Stevenage.

After the interval, we were treated to more feminist poetry, with Verity Babbs' 'Men Are Like Sharks'. Babbs was the first comic to joke about her name and made us laugh about getting lukewarm medical results from the NHS over text. Cat Stirling echoed Farrell's sentiments for clearer communication, as evidenced by a sad-turned-funny story from a work Christmas party. Despite the popularity of emojis, Stirling got us to think about what the 'old school' colon and parenthesis faces might truly indicate about happiness and sadness. Rounding out the evening, James Shakeshaft was the sharpest-dressed comedian, which he of course pointed out, and was the second person to make name jokes. We learned about his visits to Starbucks, his hatred of eggs, and in 'there was an old lady who swallowed a fly' fashion, Shakeshaft emphatically delivered a hypothetical story about tattoos within tattoos.

I applaud the comedians for trying out new material, including poems with a comedic twist. Further, I commend Jericho Comedy for hosting a balanced show with three men and three women (something that I would have liked to see in the Glee Club show I attended last month). Also, I preferred Jericho's six quick acts because it keeps the show moving. I plan to go again, just next time I might think twice before sitting in the front row.

Read the original HERE

Stand-up History Daily Info Review

by Lucy Ayrton

Stand-Up History is a nerdy, deeply charming adventure into the funnier bits of history.

In the upstairs room of the Jericho Tavern we were presented with six comics (including the compère). The whole place was packed with archaeologists having a wicked evening, which made for an extremely jolly atmosphere.

Among the comedy there were a variety of impressive facts and the night was genuinely interesting from a historical point of view. I was impressed by how easily the standard comedy fare (religion, bodily functions, Jeremy Clarkson) was laced with information. Here are my favourite nuggets of history from the night:

- Carrots are only orange because of the Dutch Revolt

- Vikings didn't really wear horned helmets

- Tutankhamun had a sword made from ore taken from a meteorite, aka space metal

The two stand-out performers were Paul Duncan McGarrity and Pierre Novellie. McGarrity delivered a beautifully animated description of the little-known ridiculousness of Richard III's death with gusto, and brimmed with enthusiasm for his subject matter and awkward charm. Novellie, headlining the night, had a very enjoyable laid back persona and some cracking material. My favourite sequences were the story of how his family were tricked into relocating in South Africa, and the hapless attempts early Christians made to spread their religion to the Vikings. There was also some gleefully filthy material about medieval Welsh law that had the audience genuinely overwhelmed with mirth.

The only slight shame was that many of the sets seemed not to have a definitive ending, instead trailing off a bit, losing the closure of a final punchline. This was the only time the lack of slickness was a problem rather than an enjoyable part of the style.

The theming of the night was very good fun and added shape and purpose that really elevated the night beyond the usual comedy night fare into something really special. Oxford is the perfect setting for this quirky and fascinating evening, which would be particularly suitable for fans of podcasts like No Such Thing As A Fish and Answer Me This.

Overall this was a gem of an evening. A real treat for history buffs and comedy fans alike.

Read the original HERE