Bilal Zafar @ Just the Tonic, The Mash House
Bilal Zafar's third hour is a strong counterpoint to online negativity
Recent political events have sparked much discussion over whether love really can trump hate. Bilal Zafar believes so, and in this pleasant hour, he walks us through how he’s playing his part, teaming up with a tech-savvy friend to create positive Twitter bots which counteract online negativity.
Zafar acknowledges at the top of the show that his style is to tell a linear story, and this is what he does, using a Powerpoint presentation to walk us through the life and work of each of his bots. In this sense, the show takes on an almost storytelling quality, which suits Zafar’s easy and laid-back delivery.
The content is pertinent and thoughtful, and the limitations of bot technology provide many a satisfying punchline. There are a few points where it feels like these are moved along too quickly but Zafar’s comic timing is good overall, revealing inappropriate bot responses and amusing Twitter usernames with a click of his mouse and a pause for effect. Although the show is well-designed, some of the biggest laughs actually come when Zafar ventures off-script and slips into a more natural persona, illustrating a quick wit and adeptness for comedy.
Overall, Lovebots is a heartwarming and feel-good hour of comedy, and it’s a bonus that it also has an important message at its core.
Bilal Zafar – Lovebots, Just the Tonic, Mash House (The Cask Room), 2-26 Aug (not 13), 3:45pm, £4-5
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