Bilal Zafar: Cakes (3 stars)

This article is from 2016

Bilal Zafar: Cakes

An engaging story about online insanity slowly crumbles away

The use of multimedia tools has a long, proud and occasionally glitch-heavy history in Fringe comedy. The likes of Alex Horne, Noble & Silver and Dave Gorman have upped the ante and stretched the possibilities of what screens and buttons can do to elevate the form and twist the very notion of stage comedy. In more recent times, ambitions seem to go about as far as what Bilal Zafar does here: collect and display a long and ever-increasingly nonsensical spat on Twitter.

Rather than cultivate and produce a show, Cakes feels almost curated by Zafar. It's a funny enough premise as a jokey online comment (that he has opened a Muslim-only cake shop in Bristol) gets completely misunderstood and escalates into a bigoted tit-for-tat with various racists (a conflict blighted by awful grammar).

Zafar has an engagingly downbeat manner which contrasts neatly with the hysteria of a story that gets steadily out of control despite the clear evidence to anyone whose mind isn't warped by hatred that the whole affair is the result of a comedian's prank. Zafar has a winning way about him, but getting laughs from the crazy things some people say on social media, often without even passing any comment on them, is taking the biscuit.

Just the Tonic at The Mash House, until 28 Aug (not 15), 3.40pm, £4 or Pay What You Want.

Bilal Zafar: Cakes

The comedian presents his highly anticipated debut show where he talks about how he was mistaken for a 'Muslim Only cake shop' and became a prime target for the far right.