Fan Girl

All hail Zenobia, Warrior Queen! The cult hit HBO show now prepping its fourth season, the world’s first dedicated fan convention is taking place in, of all places, Leeds, a far cry from Hollywood where it is filmed or 3rd century Syria where it is set, the age of the Palmyrene Empire, and as a result super fan girl Geraldine has set her sights on Yorkshire.

Written by Eddie Coleman and directed by Lily Ann Green with music by Juan Iglesias, the sweeping majestic fantasy anthem of Zenobia, Warrior Queen playing as the audience enter the venue, Fan Girl is a one-woman show of “a big girl on a big adventure,” as excited to be spending the weekend away from the obligations of home as to be attending the convention.

Starring Karen Whyte in the lead role, she also plays the diverse characters Geraldine meets at the event, fellow fans, other hotel guests, the barman and the actors, and she makes them all distinct and individual without ever losing Geraldine in the mix, but Coleman’s script does not make either them or the situations in which they meet all that interesting.

By basing it around a fictional show rather than a recognised fandom, fictional actors playing fictional characters now twice removed from genuine experience, Fan Girl exists in a vacuum, and while the aim might have been to make the themes universal, without a hook to hang her devotion on Geraldine’s obsession seems fake and superficial, her reactions those of a child rather than an adult.

With genre events now held almost every single weekend across the country – Edinburgh alone will host four major conventions this year and Glasgow another three – fandom is no longer a niche interest, and as a result Fan Girl plays like a relic from twenty years ago before the Internet connected the previously isolated fen, Geraldine’s hyperventilating social awkwardness a preconception of those who don’t know any better.

Written with an understanding of fandom and conventions, What Would Spock Do? and Who Are You Supposed to Be? are both sharper in their humour and characters while Still a Fan and Jean-Luc Picard and Me offer a more heartfelt insight into the connection between fan and show with honest and painful observations of the inspiration and comfort shared by millions, Coleman’s impression of conventions and fandom seemingly from second hand accounts rather than actual experience.

Fan Girl continues until Saturday 25th August



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