One of the more established improvised musicals at the Fringe, US-based Baby Wants Candy is a bombastic, tour-de-force of energy. The players put their all into eliciting laughs from the silliest scenarios. Nevertheless, the execution of jokes is imperfect and made the play an uneven experience.
“Loch Ness Jedi Hookers” (beating out “Learning to Floss” by a whisker) was chosen as the title for this night’s unprepared extravaganza. Maybe there was too much going on in the title, or too much ease in deferring the plot to pop-culture. Either way, the performance lacked the slick discipline and lightning-quick creativity normally found within good long-form improvisation. Players often spoke over each other, the plot ended up playing second fiddle to hit-and-miss jokes and the overall play morphed into an erratic Star Wars parody.
However, there were many truly funny moments throughout the play. Darth Vader’s monologue being interrupted to loosen a jam jar with the force was a particular moment of inspiration. Many of the jokes in the play find their target; the players having difficulty with Scottish accents adds to the hilarity and every actor played at least one strong yet kooky character. The eponymous band also deserve credit for the enjoyable, toe-tapping pieces they create with effortless confidence. From appropriate background music to entertaining show tunes, they help keep the performance lively.
The difficulty with long-form improvisation is that the play’s direction is entirely dependent on an audience suggestion. The strong acting abilities, singing voices and brilliant comic timing of the players makes me confident that Baby Wants Candy will often be a truly memorable experience. The performers were unable to fully capitalise on these talents in this particular performance. Nonetheless, I believe on a stronger night this could be a show to remember, and is definitely worth trying out.
“Baby Wants Candy” runs until the 26th of August – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/baby-wants-candy-the-completely-improvised-full-band-musical
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