Bilal Zafar – Biscuit

This is possibly the most charming show available in the free fringe this year. In fact, possibly the Fringe. The story of Zafar’s love life and gripes with tradition and the modern world are told flawlessly, and with such warmth which makes the hour feel engaging and endearing in equal measure. Topics such as fame, religion, heritage are all touched upon too, but without ever feeing dreary or preachy. Instead, it’s a beguiling insight into the modern world that garnered an incredible response from his audience.

Bilal Zafar is very lucky, he has a natural storyteller gift, that gives energy to even the most standard of plot points. He approaches each new subject without any allusions of grandeur, ready to accept his shortcomings and repurpose them to make you see why they’re amusing to him. It’s also nice to see a show of this style, about love life failures, without any malicious or self-pitying side notes that would have been incredibly easy to include. It’s because of all of these elements mixing in a well-planned and paced story, with some fantastic side characters, that the audience is consistently engrossed. With several jokes getting reactions larger than several established comedians in the festival.

It’s interesting that Zafar chooses mainly to not establish a basic set up to punchline formula, instead integrating jokes naturally into the plot. Meaning that your immersion to overarching story is never fully broken. Although what is being said is undoubtedly very funny, you remain desperate to know what comes next in his observational odyssey. It could have caused the show to fall apart had he gone onto the side of pretension but his natural storytelling and likable stage presence ensure this never happens. Zafar is destined for big things, and Biscuit is sure to become a favourite for those lucky enough to catch him at this early stage.

★★★★★

Patrick Dalziel