Rik Carranza: Charming

Rik Carranza tells us he has been doing stand up comedy for five or six years and one word that has been continually used to describe him in reviews is ‘charming’. In his show, therefore, he intends to test whether this is a good or bad thing using his handmade Charm-o-meter 3000 to gauge his audience’s reaction. Is he charming in a good way, like Will Smith, or does he use his charm for evil? I won’t mention the celebrity he uses to personify that type of charm, but you may be surprised!

I would happily have paid to see this show, and yet it’s part of the Free Fringe.

Carranza uses a wonderful mix of jokes, a couple of games, music mostly comprised of hilarious double entendres and unexpected twists and even a few drawings. He explores a number of issues from growing up mixed-race to the state of modern music, from how certain films could be improved to attempting to learn Spanish; the latter leading to a brilliantly drawn cartoon punch-line. All of these are delivered with great warmth and excitement, and even though a couple of the jokes crossed the line, very few fell flat – and, if they did, it was because they were obvious and painful puns, yet Carranza even managed to make these amusing and bounce back, whether through his discussion of his enduring love of Star Trek or through a scientifically accurate love song.

Carranza’s jokes usually hit their mark, despite the slight erratic nature of his set, moving from a discussion of racism to a discussion of modern music with alarming speed. The highlight of his show was, for this reviewer at least, his songs. From playing the guitar as a brief introduction at the start of the show, to a parodying love songs, to a song about arguments on the internet, Carranza’s clever lyrics and tunes serve as a wonderful addition to an already entertaining set, as well as helping keep the pace of the show somewhat in segueing into or connecting topics of discussion. Carranza’s comparison of music ‘then’ (which used to be poetry} and music ‘now’ (which makes no sense – Adele’s setting fire to the rain, for example), was especially amusing.

One aspect of his set which was amusing and somewhat alarming was his comparison of Justin Bieber and Hitler; it was here that Carranza introduced one of his games, reading quotes from both figures and asking the audience to guess who had said what. This game could be said to encapsulate Carranza’s set as a whole; it is entertaining and clever, but also not afraid to go out on a limb or try to shock the audience. The way in which Carranza delivers this material, however, makes it all the more entertaining – he is charming, yes, in that he has succeeded, but he is sharp with it.

I would happily have paid to see this show, and yet it’s part of the Free Fringe.

Reviews by Catriona Scott

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The Blurb

Throughout his comedy career, Rik Carranza has frequently been described as charming. The question though, is Rik charming in a good way, like Will Smith, or charming in a bad way, like not Will Smith? Using everything at his disposal, from songs to drawing, games and jokes, and with help from the Charmometer 3000, Rik invites the audience to help him discover how charming he really is. 'There is little doubt that this smartly timed, comedically intimate exercise in surrealism will be the next hit' (Darrow.org.uk).