Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at The Garrick Theatre
For those that are unfamiliar with the Showstopper! then allow me to explain. Essentially they are a group of 5 performers, 1 Chair Person and 2 musicians who create a brand new musical right in front of the audience, using suggestions that (in a Covid world) are text or tweeted in.
I am always in awe whenever I see Showstopper! Their improvisation ability is always both clever and witty. Monday night’s performance saw the premier of ‘A Change Of Direction,’ where the show set in a world where actors were unable to work and had to find alternative jobs (sound familiar?). We were quickly greeted with a host of characters from a cynical northern actor, a famous Shakespearean actor, an overlooked ingenue, a fresh faced actor just out of drama school and an actor with no transferable skills, we saw relationships develop which included friendships and romance blossom – both new and old. On top of this the audience got to vote on musical styles and we were treated to Hamilton (I imagine a popular choice), Rocky Horror Show and The Lion King (all audience choices) as well as Phantom of the Opera, Six and Sondheim – thrown in at choice moments by the Narrator.
Making up the cast was creator Dylan Emery as chair, co-creator Adam Meggido along with Andrew Pugsley, Pippa Evans, Ali James and Justin Brett. Each of them bring something inventive to the performance, I adored Ali’s Columbia-esq turn in the Rocky Horror homage section and Pippa and Adam’s brilliant characters which were developed in seconds but had a huge backstory. However and most importantly for a show like this to succeed the cast were clearly a team, Emery ensured that the show never became stagnant and threw in the odd curveball as the show progressed, whilst the rest of the cast clearly were a team bouncing off each other and seemed to have a sixth sense as to who was going to interject next or develop the next dance routine!
Showstopper! is a brilliant trip back to the theatre, with the variety of styles the cast imitate it feels like you are getting several shows for the price of one. As always Showstopper! is witty, clever and a whole lot of good fun.
Showstopper! is on some Monday nights at the Garrick until March 2021. They also go on tour from the 15th December and a livestream on the 22nd December. Find out more on their website.