Venue: The Counting House
Website: Rik Carranza: Charming
‘During the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe, Rik was described as ‘charming’ by both Broadway Baby and reviewing guru Kate Copstick. Rik test that description out with an hour of jokes, stories, songs and dinosaurs.’
What’s the point of the free festival? For many it’s a free show; for most, it’s an uninhibited expediency to enjoying what may very well be a headliner the following year.
Rik Carranza: Charming is such a show, and there is little doubt that this smartly timed, comedically intimate exercise in surrealism will be the next hit.
Situated in the loft bar of the Blind Poet the locale is small and compact but that is precisely the point. I arrived a few minutes late to the performance, pint in hand and Carranza had no trouble weaving his humour around the unexpected, much to the enjoyment of the packed room. It was telling even then how much the audience were engaged.
This is not surprising. Carranza has an excited charm that works as a combustion engine to his material.
The performance provides a varied mix of musical double entendres, sketches, witticisms and quizzes tailored to the audience as the hour proceeds. It is all organised disorder and a play on both Carranza’s love of geek and pop culture. Sharp, dry wit is the backbone to the whole thing and the audience were visibly entertained.
The Back to the Future skit is one to keep an eye out for and one that had this reviewer in stitches. The writing and performance are at once ad hoc and mastered in advance; weaving song, pictionary, music, impressions et all. into a melting pot of audience interaction.
It might be offensive to say the show came as a surprise. It was a last minute decision to attend with a friend. Like so much of the free fringe, word of mouth and well-placed adverts define the attention it receives. However, like Burton’s Last Call last year, this is easily the most memorable, and enjoyable free fringe show this reviewer has seen in 2014.
Charming is perhaps an eponymous cliche, so we’ll say ‘charismatic’ is the result. Check it out.