Art of Procrastination

Thu 9th – Sun 19th August 2012

reviews

Emma Yandle

at 01:07 on 11th Aug 2012

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I would recommend any form of procrastination above seeing this sketch comedy offering from UCL. The production was a confused combination of sketches, recorded voice segments and an over-arching tale of a scientist from who accidentally genetically modifies mice to have lasers for eyes. Comedic havoc ensues? Havoc certainly, but there was barely anything in the production you could call comedy.

The acting was largely terrible, with the only good moments from Hannah Harris, convincing as a smug and patronising university lecturer. Whilst clearly trying to be absurd and parodic, as shown by such name choices as Dr. Delilah Doctorson, there was nothing startling, ridiculous, or remarkable in the 45 minutes to achieve this. Within twenty seconds it was clear where most sketches were heading and, if not playing on obvious jokes, they fell into cheap stereotypes, falling back on homosexuality as the punch-line on four occasions.

Stand-out lines included ‘I’ve got cheese in my belly button’ - ‘You don’t have a belly button, you’re a mouse’: combined with over-hammed acting and garbled delivery it really had no redeeming points. The feel was of a show you’d perform for your family, aged about 10, and loosely based on a sci-fi cartoon you watched over dinner.

I noted down one reasonably funny sketch and a couple of titter-inducing lines such as the observation that shisha is ‘like smoking one of your five-a-day’. Some people actually did occasionally laugh, but you have to credit the actors for carrying on with gusto, despite an unresponsive room.

Personally, I’d be happy never to hear the words ‘mice’ and ‘laser’ in the same sentence again. I admire their efforts and enthusiasm, but unfortunately this show is not destined to be a hit.

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Claire Dalling

at 09:37 on 11th Aug 2012

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UCLU Comedy Club is a group of really nice people. Which makes what I am about to write a bit awkward and difficult: they’re not very funny.

Procrastination is a subject very close to my heart, so I was immediately intrigued by the premise of their show, ‘Art of Procrastination’. However, it seems that the title must refer to the process of devising the show, because, instead of creating a coherent selection of sketches, they have built a show from one-liners that could have been pulled from old Christmas crackers. There is supposed to be a plot – something about a failing university in which a disgruntled Professor creates a race of laser-vision equipped mice who take over the world – but it is, perhaps thankfully, hidden beneath a random array of unoriginal sketches. The Nick Clegg/David Cameron gay relationship jokes were once funny and topical, but that was in 2010. The scenes are also long – not in itself a bad thing – but instead of building on an original joke, simply stretch it to breaking point, or twist it beyond recognition. Recorded witticisms are played in a valiant attempt to distract from the slow changes between sketches, but simply add to the already cringey atmosphere.

Faced with an almost completely unresponsive audience, the Comedy Club coped admirably well. Their energy levels never waver and they do seem genuinely passionate about their performance. This sometimes works against them, when their enthusiasm gets in the way of actual coherence. Hannah Harris, the only female of the troupe, avoids this obstacle, and is consistently clear and engaging. Her monologues as the nutty professor provide some continuity to the piece, although the tactic of suddenly dimming and brightening the lights to indicate a time lapse is initially hard to understand. Finlay Green works well as her arch nemesis, and somehow manages to make his real Scottish accent appear fake and comic.

UCLU Comedy Club may be good performers, but their material is so haphazard and out-dated that it simply left me squirming. They have an adorable geeky charm, but that’s just not enough to warrant £6 and a trip to Paradise in the The Vault to see them perform.

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