As a Drama teacher, I know only too well how improv is a performance skill honed over years of experience, so with over 3000 improv performances under their belt, I had high hopes for USA’s most well-known, longest-running and acclaimed comedic and musical company, Baby Wants Candy. I saw a few of the group’s members perform small sketches in a end of season stint at Theatresports last year, and knew just from those baby bites that one day, when they returned, I wanted to devour all the comedic candy they could offer. That day finally came yesterday and boy was it a sweet treat!
Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical sees the lights come up on a couple of chairs, a troupe of 6 performers and a live band consisting of brass, bass, keys, guitar and drums side of stage - nothing more. Prompted by the performers, audience members give the cast a variety of titles to be voted on by the audience as a whole. Once a title is chosen, the cast and band must then improvise a whole hour long musical on the spot. On opening night for 2018, the title was “Voldemort Gets A Nose Job”. Over the next hour, witty hilarity ensued as Voldemort had debilitating self-esteem issues due to missing a certain appendage, Harry lost his purpose without a Dark Lord to evade, there were three Snapes with different variations of his trademark accent, and so much more utter insanity.
As expected, the improv skills of everyone involved is amazing - they create lyrics that not only rhyme but are clever as hell, they find humour in their fuck-ups, and keep jokes running or revisit them when you least expect it, which is what provided some of the best moments of humour throughout the show.
The BWC group gel super well, obviously from much experience performing together - they run with one another’s crazy ideas, stop themselves from stepping on each other’s flow, support one another in getting obscure references, and help each other clean up plot messes. Not to mention, their ability to sync up their spontaneous choreography and to create heavenly harmonies is unreal - they’re all super talented singers, with great backing abilities and sensational solo moments.
The live band consists of some truly gifted Adelaidian musicians, led by a BWC regular. Their improv skills are also to be commended, following their leader to create an awesome score for the show.
Now don’t get me wrong, this was not a flawless performance – it is improv after all. There were some forgotten plots and many mistakes, but that’s what comes with the territory, and they handle it like pros, even laughing at themselves to encourage their audience to, too.
Again, as a Drama teacher, I know only too well how improv in the wrong hands can be an awkward humourless disaster, or in the right hands can be one of the most amusing, mesmerising and memorable things you’ll ever see on stage. I can gladly say that it's the latter in the case of Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical. A guaranteed fun night where you’ll leave gobsmacked at their talent and genius and gut-busted from laughing, it’s easy to see why Baby Wants Candy has had three back to back sold out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe. Get a taste or two of these guys before they’re gone! It’s a different title and brand new show every single night so why not go back for seconds?
WHERE: Umbrella Revolution at the Garden of Unearthly Delights
WHEN: 20th Feb - 18th March (except Mondays) at 9:35pm
DURATION: 60 mins
HOW MUCH: $30-$38
For more info, or to book your tickets, click this link!