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Fake News review at Assembly George Square – ‘fails on every level’

Osman Baig in Fake News. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Here’s a headline you can trust: Fake News is a full-on failure. Osman Baig’s one-man show attempts to craft a cautionary tale about an ambitious young journalist at an online news outlet, who publishes a phoney article about Osama Bin Laden still being alive, but goes on to reap the rewards.

It doesn’t work on any level, from the concept (Baig clumsily frames the device as a lecture about journalistic ethics), to the content (no newsrooms are like the one he describes here), to the characters: the editor is a catastrophically ill-judged Cruella de Vil impersonation.

It’s never clear whether Baig believes clickbait journalism is a good thing or not, nor even that he fully comprehends what the concept of fake news actually involves. He worked as a broadcast journalist for twelve years before taking a stab at theatre, but it’s not obvious that he knows what he’s talking about.

This is not a natural piece of writing – the script is cringeworthily ripe – and Baig isn’t a natural stage performer either. He mistakes over-enunciation for acting and comes across more like Dan Walker from BBC Breakfast than a jaded, world-weary journalist. It’s overwrought and under-researched. Steer well clear.

 

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Verdict
Attempted allegory about journalistic ethics that fails on every level
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