Reboot Theatre Company’s Candy is a tragic monologue about a man in love with his best friend’s drag alter ego. Written by Tim Fraser, and directed by Nico Pimparé, this unique piece of theatre gives a new slant to the star-crossed lovers story.
The show opens with Will (Michael Waller) sneaking into the dressing room of an empty theatre. He gently caresses an abandoned blonde wig and microphone, before walking to the stage and attaching the mic. Beginning to speak, he is shocked by the high volume and wanders to one of the empty tables in the audience to tell his story.
He says that he never believed in love at first sight before and when he first read Romeo and Juliet it struck him how impetuous they were to marry without having so much as a proper conversation about hobbies or anything. But this all changed when he saw Candy and was overwhelmed by her presence.
When Will’s best friend, Billy, invited him to the show he was reluctant to go, saying it’s not really his scene. Clearly uncomfortable at the gig, Will instantly feels more at home and more like himself than ever before when Candy, Billy’s drag persona, walks onto the stage. Of course, he’s conflicted, because he knows that Candy is Billy, but the feelings of love coursing through him are impossible to stop.
Waller tells Will’s story with flashbacks where he morphs into other characters, like Billy, with subtle changes in body language and accent. Mime creates Will’s world and the other people around him as he walks around the empty stage which becomes crowded with everyone else in the story. Never actually seeing Candy allows her to become perfect in the imagination as the only descriptions we hear of her are through Will’s lovestruck eyes.
Dressed very casually, Waller looks worn and unhappy throughout the piece, making the emotional state of the character palpable. His increasing panic contrasts which a gentle piano melody in the background which creates the atmosphere of a cabaret evening and enhances the conflict of the story.
Candy is an emotional piece about unrequited love which pulls you in and feels very poignant. Will trying to reconcile his feelings and work out what he is going to do is riveting and the tragedy of the situation makes the Romeo and Juliet tale he keeps referring to seem like a fairy tale romance. A sweet love story that feels impossible start to end, Will’s tale is one which will leave you questioning what it means to fall in love at first sight.
Candy is being streamed by Edinburgh Fringe until 28th August 2021. Tickets are available here https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/candy
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 16th August 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★