Baby Wants Candy has become almost as much a staple of the Fringe as being slapped in the face with flyers on the Royal Mile. The sell clearly works because even on just 'day one' of the Fringe they already appear to have sold out, or close to. It’s quite a proposition – a fully improvised musical with live band in under an hour all based off one suggestion from a lucky audience member who gets to see their dream show come to life. Certainly it is an impressive feat – if only for their energy and vocal stamina. But I wanted to check it out and find out if it is still worth the hype.
They might need to shake their format up in order to mitigate the hazards of poor titles
I think the most disappointing thing about Baby Wants Candy is that invariably the audience are so, so, so much less imaginative and creative than the cast. The format is that they asks for suggestions from the audience on what the title should be and then by way of a cheer pick from the proffered titles as to what they would most like to see. Today our choices were between “Grumpy Glazer,” “Pedo’s The Word” (uh-huh, that kind of pedo), “Peter Andre: The Musical,” “Pepper” (no, I’m not sure either) and “The Phonebox Repair Man.” Both fortunately and unfortunately “The Phonebox Repair Man” won out. Fortunately because I considered it the best of the bunch and unfortunately because it is still wildly unspecific and uncreative, neither of which really feed excellent improv.
Baby Wants Candy actors are undoubtedly incredibly talented. The sheer energy they bring to the stage night after night surpasses most other Fringe fare. It is certainly going to be an enjoyable show just to see their craft. However, to continue on their trajectory it feels as if they might need to shake their format up in order to mitigate the hazards of poor titles given by an inebriated late-night crowd. Other improv shows meld together suggestions from different audience members, lessening the chance of one dud ruining a show. Ultimately, it is improv and there will always be some shows better than others but when punters have laid out considerable dosh for this ONE show, the product needs to be at least passable and today’s contribution wasn’t that. They didn’t have much to work with but the plot made practically no sense, the songs were repetitive and lyrics quite bizarre. I also used to love that Baby Wants Candy seemed to shun some of the toilet-humour that is a cheap trick to win over drunk members of the audience but they seemed to be leaning into it an awful lot tonight with dick joke after dick joke.
Every night is different and if the premise piques your interest then it could be worth a shot, but judging by the 50% of the audience who appeared to walk out looking somewhat bemused it certainly can be hit and miss.