Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Care, Bilal Zafar, EdFringe 2022 ★★★★☆

Money, money, money. We all want it, we all need it, and some of us will take desperate measures to get it. Bilal Zafar’s Care will leave you assured that a media degree is not the best way to do so. During his act, Bilal tells tales of fights, friendships and failed attempts at banter within the walls of an upmarket care home. He is relatable, relaxed, and speaks to all of us who have worked beyond our job description.

Though his job revolved around looking after elderly citizens, Bilal assures the audience that he is not a good guy. It does become apparent through his battles with phantom gas bills and indifference to fake gift vouchers that he is in the game to survive – easier said than done when your degree had you watching movies for 3 years. As he recounts the life of a minimum wage workers Bilal reminds us of the many various roles they take – from a therapist, to a detective, to a terrorist negotiator. Whilst he no doubt finds himself in amusing situations, it is Bilal’s response which is the star of the show. His surprising yet completely understandable reactions have you wanting to relate and wishing you had such stories to tell.

Zafar is a professional. His calm and collected manner gave the audience full confidence in his ability to captivate the room, without once doubting his composure. He is, for the most part, still onstage, which adds to the feeling that you are in safe hands – this is not show which will flop. Laughs are subsequently frequent, genuine, and full. His narrative flows smoothly and develops naturally, this is a well thought out, cohesive and clearly refined set. Characters reappear, bringing consistency, familiarity and adding depth to jokes.

Bilal Zafar is funny, man, it can’t be doubted, but there is something missing. Parts of his set feel over – rehearsed, as though every gesture and look has been meticulously planned. His performance lacked, at times, a sense of a raw and personal storytelling. In contrast, Bilal shone during spontaneous moments of crowd talk – Care would excel with more fragments of reflexive personalised audience interaction.

Be warned – Care will put you off even the most exclusive of care homes – it is not at all fun and games. Regardless of the price tag, chaos is destined to rule the halls, moderated only by underpaid and overworked 20 something year-olds. A deadly combination, which I guess is what you’re there for anyway.

Recommended Drink: A pint of sparkling wine – it’s fun, you can rely on it bringing you a good time it but has you fearing for future you. Catch Bilal Zafar at Underbelly, Bristo Square, Jersey, every evening at 5:30pm between August 11th and 29th (not 15th). Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.

Ingrid Freeman

Ingrid enjoys sarcasm, satire, deadpan and dark humour, as well as shows which incorporate music in any way. Her favourite show styles are stand up comedy and gig theatre, and she enjoys those which include coming of age stories.

Festivals: EdFringe (2022)
Pronouns: She/Her