Theatre

Bilal Zafar – Lovebots at the Edinburgh Fringe

Bilal Zafar - Lovebots at the Edinburgh Fringe

Bilal Zafar – Lovebots offers the solution to any user of social media who has witnessed the strength of vitriol expressed towards others. Lovebots provides a good-natured approach to combating hate. Through trolls with kindness.

Zafar promotes the thinking that the ability to provoke anger, hate and fear on social media should be challenged. In a heart-warming hour of comedy focused on the Twitter platform, Zafar approaches this challenge from the position of compassion. Zafar proposes that instead of provoking anger that those promoting hate are inadvertently provoked to self-reflect.

Taking us through his self-confessed, linear style of delivery Zafar talks us through how bearing witness to Sarah Silverman’s response to a Twitter troll motivated him to consider how kindness can be used to overcome hate. Working with his tech-savvy mate, Zafar has created Lovebots to respond to those promoting hateful messages on Twitter. In part, this allows an exploration into the depths of hate on social media. The fortune is that this is balanced with the creation on inadvertently witty retorts. Further motivating the need for an army of Lovebots.

Zafar takes us through the creation of Lovebots, and the accounts which have been tested along the way. With a good mix of references to engage a broad audience, the exploration of what happens when a series of automated responses are used to engage with those promoting hate. The result offers a good design to build laughter and plays to the deadpan style Zafar presents. Zafar succeeds in presenting a laid-back approach which encourages the audience to respond, and offers the ability to demonstrate a comic timing which the audience can appreciate.

The conclusion is a worthwhile hour at the Fringe. Not just because Zafar engages with the audience and wants to engage through laughter and interaction, but because this is a good thing. The idea that we tolerate this use of social media is genuinely scary. The idea that we can use such platforms to better enable kindness and compassion- well, there’s a thought.

Bilal Zafar – Lovebots is at Just the Tonic at The Mash House as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You can catch the show at 1545 until Sunday 26th August 2018.

Disclosure: We have media accreditation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. All words and opinions contained are our own.

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