One-man shows are rarely as engaging as Baig’s colourful rollercoaster ride through the foibles and fancies of the modern, mainstream media.
The broadcast journalist turned actor and playwright manages to turn weighty themes into an accessible and — more importantly —entertaining appraisal of the way we consume and compose news.
Throughout the performance, Baig assumes numerous guises as neat lighting tricks and slick stagecraft transform him into an array of scintillating personas.
In a display of Baig’s comedic nous, the show has the audience in stiches at many points.
In a nod to the dystopian Charlie Brooker-like entertainment we have all come to know and love, Baig’s play offers a hard-hitting critique on 21st century media. However, he provides (welcome) relief thanks to his high-energy enactment and glowing facial expressions.
Baig carries himself impressively and hardly falters, which is impressive considering the play is still in its embryonic stages.
There are, perhaps, moments where the act could be polished.
But there is something undeniably appealing about witnessing an evolving creative work. Perfection, after all, is overrated.
For me, at least, this is especially true in theatre and performing arts.
Audiences watch plays to feel something real. And reality, as we all know, never goes to plan. (Incidentally, neither do the endeavours of Baig’s protagonist—who is, perhaps, a caricatured version of Baig himself).
Clearly autobiographical, Fake News Play offers an assessment on how young people of colour feel obligated to enter certain professions.
All too often, British people of South Asian descent feel journalism is a world cut off to them.
Become a doctor, a teacher or lawyer, their parents often urge.
Baig subtly addresses this fact, passionately injecting his own life experiences into proceedings.
The honesty is refreshing and adds to the empathy the audience begin to feel for the protagonist.
The show raises questions about the nature of fake news — questions that are more relevant now than ever.
A concept that until recently didn’t exist, the term ‘fake news’ is regularly touted by statesmen and companies alike.
Baig’s theatrical portrayal tells its tale as viewed from the inside. The result is an insightful window into the way modern journalism functions in an ever-changing and unpredictable world.
Set in a world of click-bait and viral news conspiracy theories, Baig’s tale serves as a cautionary reminder to abscond from the hype of the online sphere.
His gullible protagonist believes he has found the scoop of the century—but his hopes are soon dashed when the fickle reality of the internet dawns.
Again, though, it is the way Baig draws attention to the shortcomings in us all, here, that makes this show so inviting.
We are all, whether we like it or not, deeply flawed. And Baig reminds that no one is infallible.
For me, this demonstrates an ability to address an audience and invite them in.
After all, no performance is worth watching if you can’t relate to it.
Fake News Play will be showing in a London theatre near you soon.