Candy (Reboot Theatre Company) | Review By Rebecca Donati

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Will has a secret. He’s hopelessly in love with the unattainable Candy — she’s an epiphany, a revelation, and his best friend Billy in drag. Can he ever be with her? And what does loving her really mean?

‘CANDY’ written by Tim Fraser is a comedic play with many prevalent themes including masculinity, identity crisis, love and rejection. We follow Will on a journey as he processes his emotions, fighting with himself as to what to do about his new found desire, a true battle between head and heart. This one man show is truly captivating and demands your full attention during this short but engaging 22 minute adaption of CANDY. Reboot Theatre Company and Tim Fraser came together with theatre and film director Nico Pimparé to create this exclusive version of CANDY for ZOOTV as part of this year’s International Fringe Festival. The filming takes place in a dark, empty theatre which allows for the intimacy of the piece to stand out and is very reflective of these times. The full version of the play hopes to return to the Edinburgh Fringe next year in a live setting.

Michael Waller gave a brilliant, capsulating performance. His tone of voice, paired with his northern accent gives a very welcoming and familiar sound, almost like someone you already know, it allows you to open your ears to him and welcome this story with an open heart. His energy sustains throughout the play, given that this performance is filmed in an empty space he manages to give the impression that he is commanding an audience, he moves freely, engaging with this space almost as if the room were packed with people. He brings you on this emotional rollercoaster, fighting with himself without missing a single beat, every breath, every line is calculated and executed just right. Although this piece is originally a theatre piece where some action may be heightened he manages to use the most subtle gestures in his facial expressions and body language to let us in as an audience witnessing this through a screen. He creates these moments for us to feel intimate with him as he goes through his inner turmoil, discussing his fantasies.

Tim Fraser’s writing really is a highlight of this piece, the storytelling is wonderful, taking you through a real journey. Highlighting the unconventional love that Will is facing, he draws comparisons to more “conventional” love stories that we know and love such as Romeo and Juliet and Love Actually to drive some of Will’s decisions and to guide us through his thought process. Within a short amount of time this writing carries us through a whirlwind of emotions.

Nico Pimparé has done a wonderful job directing this piece from an intimate theatre setting into a blended vision of theatre and film. This blended method allows us as the audience to see a very specific amount of detail, when we are to feel the dialogue the camera will allow us to see a close up of Wills face, when will is describing his fantasies often the camera will slowly move away, creating a feeling of Will being in his own world and us, the audience, being on the outside witnessing his fantasies as he imagines them. The choice of location for this performance is perfect and again fits this blended method of theatre and film which we have seen the world experiment with over this last year. Using a dark, empty theatre allows for the feeling of a live performance, with the intimacy and engagement with the audience coming from the use of camera angles, as Will still chooses to go into the audience and use the space as though we were there. The lighting for this piece is brilliant, the soft yellow lamps create that intimacy, the ambience which you would expect from a one man show.

Overall this show is one worth seeing at this year’s International Fringe Festival. I feel however this piece is almost a snippet of what is to come. At the end there is a mention of the fuller fleshed out one hour show of CANDY which will be performed live at next year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and that has previously been performed at the Kings Head Theatre in London. This performance in itself is brilliant and I am really looking forward to next year as you are left feeling like there is more that Will has to say.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

‘Candy’ can be viewed from the below link for £5:

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