Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Candy Factory begins by introducing the audience to Kevin, who has an unfortunate combination of arrogance and idiocy. He seems to a have a clear plan for the future – finding success as a drug tycoon in Scotland with his ex-adult-film-star-turned-lawyer girlfriend at his side. However, this future is put in peril as sirens ring out and he is taken into custody.

After a quick trial, the story moves to prison, and the main narrative begins. Kevin meets his cellmate, Dez, who is a loud mountain of a man, nearly twice the size of Kevin and projecting fear with a booming voice. Their difference in physical stature is outweighed by their overall outlook on life, building strong tension and conflict. Unlike Kevin, Dez sees more to life than making money and appears to be dealing with a mysterious past. The pair have no choice put to talk and their differences become clear, leading to funny, albeit at times bigoted conversations. Although strong performances make this conflict seem real, it does feel too familiar.

Although the main theme of the show is the interaction of the two main characters, the story also examines the collateral damage of a life behind bars. In particular, the suffering of family members left on the other side of jail bars and their guilt with their own successes while their counterparts stay stagnant in captivity. This is well weaved throughout the plot, bolstered by a strong performance by the female lead.

Even though the main plot line lacks a bit of originality, the piece contains rich character depth held within a well paced story structure.  This allows development of an uneasy fondness for our anti-hero Kevin and a curiosity to his mysterious friend Dez. As the story reaches its climax, you are ready and eager to learn the fate of the pair.