I'm A Fan felt like a show of two parts – the beginning was that of a joke heavy, conventional stand-up. It only lasted around 15 minutes and was a marked distance from the second part because the gags weren't compelling or energetic. On the back of this, my expectation of a lukewarm hour was firm. The jokes had medium value and Star Trek references too vague for myself.
The lack of energy might have been a good choice, on reflection, because the story he delves into for the remainder of the show couldn't have been told with more energy or any differently than it was. The Star Trek references were also worrisome because there were a fair few but, while Star Trek is a heavy, heavy topic throughout, it's not a show solely for the fandom. Far from it. However, it will suit those of us with fanatic personalities.
The story is chronological, beginning with Carranza's discovery of his beloved Star Trek before delving into the ostracised geek's life. While dipping in and out of his relationship with his parents, he expresses how his pride in Star Trek began to diminish when he learnt to replace it with another, more accepted addiction.
He also addressed his romantic relationships twice. Once quite early on: it was a conventional tidbit, which didn't sit very well in amongst a deeply niche routine of storytelling, but we learn, when he picks it up again as denouement, that it means everything to the tale.
In the pursuit of fitting in, Carranza let go of the thing which brought him the greatest happiness because it caused him grief, and that resonates with an avowedly geeky audience. So many stories about bullies and exclusion end with relinquishing and changing personalities, so to hear Carranza found a way to return to it and regain his geekery is uniquely valuable.
With liberal outlooks at festivals have come shows that reject divisive politics. Such a personal show gives Carranza a moving, niche approach at doing so in a novel way.
Rik Carranza: I'm A Fan is on for free at the Counting House at 21:00 for the rest of the Fringe. For more info, visit the Fringe website.