It is far from uncommon to stumble across an improvised musical at the Edinburgh Fringe. There are many companies who use varying formulas and structures to create a different show every night, some more experienced than others. With Baby Wants Candy, you are in good hands. The ensemble is strong, the band is brilliant and the plot is full of twists and surprises.
The completely improvised, brand new musical that this review is based on was inspired by the title voted on by the audience – Orange is the New Crack (rejected titles included Sun, Shrek and Suspicious Parents and Peter Pancreas). To begin the show the audience is given the opportunity to shout out suggestions for a title of a musical, then vote by volume of applause for their favourite.
“The ensemble is strong, the band is brilliant and the plot is full of twists and surprises”
The cast then dive straight in, with no time taken to discuss anything. Whilst other companies manage to have whispered conversations when not directly involved with a scene, this group don’t seem to need to communicate off stage in order to plan the plot; at most a cast member will tag another to join them.
The plot for Orange is the New Crack featured orange smuggling, a cell full of scurvy ridden inmates and a rule-following warden so full of anger he had his own wife committed for stealing a crumb of bread. The story is interspersed with an impressive variety of solos, duets and chorus numbers. The cast drew on tropes and structures from famous musicals involving prisons; an adaptation of ‘Cell Block Tango’ from Chicago was created and Les Mis referenced.
Characterisation is stronger than in any improvised musical I have previously seen. It was such fun to watch the characters grow and develop with the plot, becoming more and more exaggerated and defined as their interactions shaped them. Although the singing and lyrics constructed off the cuff were continually outstanding, the improvised dancing in the background was utterly hysterical. The cast clearly thoroughly enjoy playing and riffing off each other, unafraid to call each other out on illogical plot-moving statements.
For a fun night out you would struggle to beat a musical by Baby Wants Candy.
Image: Baby Wants Candy