Amy catches up with Tim Fraser, the writer of Candy which is at Underbelly this year!
Hi, how are you feeling ahead of the Fringe?
Tim: Excited, nervous… every emotion under the sun.It’s been years of anticipation after our original London preview shows in January 2020, so the emotions are pretty huge.
What can people expect from Candy?
Tim: We’re aiming to make them laugh and cry. In that order. It’s a one-man show about a bloke called Will who sees his best mate perform in drag and falls head over heels in love with the guy’s drag persona. For a guy like Will, it’s a very confusing experience.
What inspired Candy?
Tim: Lots of different things! The premise was inspired by the song ‘Andrew in Drag’ by The Magnetic Fields. And then, as I got writing, experiences that certain friends were going through inspired the play, as well as my own experiences. Apologies that that’s pretty vague!Mike, who plays Will, really informed the play by bringing his own experiences to the character as well, which I’m forever grateful for.
What are the key themes / messages within the show?
Tim: It’s about love and heartbreak, identity and sexuality, and male mental health. Will is talking to the audience because he can’t tell anyone in his life about this. And even then he struggles and makes jokes to break the tension. I’ve witnessed men do this my entire life: bottle things up to a point that’s really unhealthy, and it leads to a lot of darkness. As Will delves into his past, we get a glimpse of how he’s been affected by this before. I think the message is to open up to others; to truly know and love yourself. It sounds easy but it’s actually pretty damn hard!
Why is this an important show to be staged in 2022?
Tim: At the moment, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. It’s a fact that is shocking and tragic and needs to be talked about more. Also, I hope that the play has some relevant things to say about identity and the spectrum of sexuality through the conclusion Will comes to in his complex conundrum. Beyond that, the show relies on an audience: Will talks to them and feeds off their energy. It’s the perfect show for the Fringe’s return to in-person, real-life theatre. You’re gonna have a good time.
Can you describe Candy in just 3 words?
Tim: Agony. Ecstacy. Toadface?
Candy had a run in London in 2020- how did this go?
Tim: It’s being described as a run but was intended as two preview shows before we properly premiered the play at the Fringe! But then, y’know, that thing happened. But it went well! The extra years in between gave me time to edit and refine the play. This version of Candy is a little different now; some big moments added, some smaller moments taken away. The show now is in the strongest place it’s ever been, which is super exciting.
What shows will you be seeing whilst you’re in Edinburgh?
Tim: Oooh, loads. On my list so far is Half-Empty Glasses by Dipo Baruwa-Etti, Godot is a Woman by Silent Faces, and Butchered by Expial Atrocious. Nic Lawton, who’s in Butchered, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Candy for a while, so I can’t wait to see they’ve got in store! I’m also a big fan of stand-up comedy and aim to see loads of that while I’m here.
With a huge number of shows to choose from at the Fringe, tell people why they should come to Candy!
Tim: Well, for one thing I hope the amount of stars earnt from our preview run speak for themselves! No but really, I think we’re on at the perfect slot for the show: 15:50. It’s post-lunch, pre-dinner; so you can settle in for some warm, cathartic theatre that invites you to laugh and to fall in love with our main character. What more could you want? You’re gonna love it.
And finally, where can people buy tickets to your shows and where do people find you on socials?
Tim: The Fringe and Underbelly websites, as well as our very own: candytheplay.com! We’re on Twitter and Instagram too: @Candytheplay. Thank you!
ABOUT THE SHOW
Candy is on at Underbelly Bristo Square until the 29th of August (not the 15th) it’s on at 3.50pm daily. Tickets and info here.