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

Gilded Balloon Teviot

So You Think You're Funny? Grand Final

★★★
Assembly Rooms

To Hell in a Handbag

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Tiff Stevenson: Bombshell

★★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

War of the Sperms

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Church Blitz

★★★
King's Theatre

The Divide - Part 2

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

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).

Most Popular See More

The Mousetrap

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

My Fair Lady

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets