Clickbait

Those headlines are everywhere these days: “You won’t believe what happens next,” “#8 will blow your mind,” “This video is everything”. The marketing tactics employed by websites like Buzzfeed and its many doppelgangers don’t just invite you to read their content - they beg you, they bait you.

Despite the intriguing premise, Clickbait is written and performed without emphasis, and failed to satisfy my curiosity.

This is the subject of Clickbait, a new play considering the values and dangers of these advertising techniques. Brought to the Fringe by a girl’s school from the US, the play relies on an “explanation, then demonstration” format. An opening presentation on the “curiosity gap” and the steps needed for a piece of content to go viral leads into a story about a woman suffering from huge amounts of pain due to a rare disease, and the rise and fall of the marketing campaign created to help her. It’s a simple concept, but often simple is best.

Unfortunately, the concept is not well executed. Some problems seem to be the standard issues common to early performances. Other issues, though, are more central. The writing is quite basic, with largely uninteresting characters. Besides Kylie - a Jenna Marbles style fashion vlogger - none of them stand out. They seem to fill necessary roles, rather than be people with all the quirks and individual elements that entails.

Nor is it the case that the actors bring their characters to life. Generally performances are as average as the characters, which is especially noticeable where there is room for performance. The actor portraying Sophie, who feels like her hand is on fire all the time, never gets this sensation across. Instead of being animated by pain, she is just melancholy, kind of like a lot of teenagers. It is particularly jarring to see her use her phone with the hand that is supposed to flare into incredible pain with any contact. An opportunity to engage with the sympathies of the audience is missed.

Despite the intriguing premise, Clickbait is written and performed without emphasis, and failed to satisfy my curiosity. 

Reviews by Bennett Bonci

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

These high school students know what it takes to make a story go viral. But becoming instafamous can have unforeseen consequences. Clickbait explores the subtle ways a person can be manipulated without even knowing it, and the three simple steps you can take right now to achieve a level of personal power that will make you feel superhuman. Once you have this knowledge, you won’t believe what happens next... Multi Fringe First award-winning company returns. 'Timeless and universal' **** (ThreeWeeks).