The singer-spectator infatuation is an age-old trope, possibly the reason why the West End only employs countless skinny young dancers in their ensembles. However, it's a rare occasion we see the story of a spectator fall for a transgender performer… and a best friend! 

Candy, written by Tim Fraser and directed by Nico Rao Pimparé, is the story of Will, played by Michael Waller, a stereotypical northern lad who likes his booze and banter. However, when Will is invited to a ‘gig' by his best friend Billy, he meets Candy - Billy's drag character - creating conflicting feelings within. Waller builds a nice rapport with the audience allowing an intimate 70-minute reflection. Waller does well to maintain a strong connection with a few petulant audience members with poor etiquette.  

Fraser's text flows naturally and finds great nuance with easy dynamic shifts. Beginning life as a 15-minute short play for the late bunker theatre's new writing scheme, it's clear the content is sufficiently impactful to have been developed into a 1-hour show; as seen by the high acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe. 

Waller's introduction is gentle and charming, however, their approach to sharing the intensity of feeling for Candy slightly misfires. Waller finds their strained expression through excessive leaning towards the audience. The vocal expression follows suit with a trapped high-pitched monotony that lacks variety in an attempt to heighten the emotion. 

Jonathan Chan's lighting design is glamorous. The delicate shifts transport us through time and across location with ease and clarity. The subtle soft changes highlight when we are meeting Candy versus Billy with great effect. 

It runs until 9 September.

Review: Sebastian Calver        Photo: Ali Wright