CAUTION: Deadline Ahead - A Comedy About Procrastination

Fri 10th – Mon 27th August 2018

reviews

Jasmine Silk

at 11:02 on 24th Aug 2018

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Cristina Lark pulls off 50 minutes of funny and relatable content single-handedly, in a show with huge comedic promise: 'CAUTION: Deadline Ahead'. This is a performance that anyone who has ever procrastinated will be able to relate to – essentially everyone. Lark herself demonstrates this when she asks everyone to put up their hands if they’ve never procrastinated. Nobody moves.

Lark takes us through a show which is part stand up, part sketch and all her. Sometimes it feels a little haphazard, as she rushes to change costumes between and even during sketches but that’s all part of the charm of it. Any show you've had to pull off single-handed is going to look a little haphazard at times.

For the most part the sketches show great observational comedy and are very effective. For example her one on the builders of Sagrada Familia procrastinating on a major level, had everyone laughing as she played the whole committee at once. However, at other points the sketches begin to slide into stand up, and do not show as clear of a concept as the characters begin to get lost.

On the whole they work because of Cristina Lark’s charisma. From the moment she starts speaking she is quick and funny and listening to her feels like listening to a friend. The haphazard moments only make her more likeable, as they are entirely familiar to anyone who procrastinates. If it was too polished the show wouldn’t be half as relatable.

The way Cristina Lark describes procrastinating is perhaps the most accurate I’ve ever seen, and her use of sound to add effect or her thoughts helps to keep energy up and the show varied. It is this however which threatens to let her down, not through any fault of her own, as occasionally sound cues were slow or wrong, but she handled this with grace and confidence.

All in all, the show didn’t have us crying with laughter but it was a very enjoyable hour, and an impressive exhibit of Lark’s comedic talent. This is a show which has the potential to become something even better, and you can't help leaving with a grin on your face.

For this reason I would recommend that anyone who has ever found themselves procrastinating should come and spend an hour in Cristina Lark’s glowing company, and leave feeling you are not alone.

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Alina Young

at 11:26 on 24th Aug 2018

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It is hard not to love Cristina Lark. She is energetic, self-aware and a talented comedienne, as well as being visibly a warm person. She's on the money, too, about what it's like to be a serial procrastinator. Coming to the show fellow procrastinators feel understood - their behaviour explained - and very much in good company.

Ironically, though she may have written the show last minute, Cristina has definitely put a lot of thought into varying the tone and nature of scenes. It is never boring, and within 15 minutes you find yourself eager to hear more from her. She is a delightful speaker and a great actress, who knows how to deliver herself and the production in order to entertain. With a small audience, it can be hard to keep comedic energy high, but Cristina's efforts repay her as the room is laughing throughout.

The show is (appropriately, for an audience of procrastinating latecomers) very casual. At times, however, this can make the production feel a little rough. In comedy that's not necessarily a bad thing, but since Cristina herself is such a sparkling personality, fewer props and gimmicks would have made the show feel more polished. Her 'Devil vs Angel' sketch using sock puppets, where she discusses the inner forces of a procrastinator's decision making process, receives rounds of laughter with its DIY props. Yet in another scene, she leaves the stage before and after the sketch for a costume change; it would have been a more effective, snappier scene with a simple lighting shift and pulling on one element of her costume. When she left, the momentum that she had built up waned. Less would have certainly been more.

It's fortunate that her personality is so appealing, and the performance feels like being in the company of a friend. She is a great comic writer, wryly observing her behaviour and being inventive in how she presents the quirks of procrastinators. Her own positivity radiates, and by the end of the show procrastinating doesn’t seem so bad after all.

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