Showstopper! The Improvised Musical!
- Lyric Theatre
- Until March 2022
- £15 (Students)
Nothing beats live theatre; the music, singing, act- ing, and dancing all unfolds in real time right in front of our eyes to give a rush that one can’t get from the silver screen. Showstopper! takes this a step further, creating a fully improvised musical where every song sung and every step taken happens that night only and never again.
The show starts with a narrator character (sort of ) taking audience suggestions for settings, song styles and general plot points. After a slightly drawn out back and forth with the audience, a mermaid and pirate musical called “Who Do You Think You Arrr?” is decided on and seconds later, the cast bursts out on stage ready to take the audience on an impromtu journey.
The opening song is an epic one, reminiscent of the Les Miserables opener, and immediately the audience sees that these are professionals and any worries they might have had about seeing some quirky improv show are put to rest.
next time the show is on, the story will be completely different but the waterfalls of talent coming from the cast will be intact
The story adlibbed by the actors is of Captain Ab- ernathy sailing to mermaid-infested Tortuga in the search of fame and glory. A small joke about recording a podcast by Lucy Trodd, quickly spins out into a full subplot, bringing many laughs from the audience but a more sinister plot of mutiny and a torrid love affair dominates the story.
Trodd, a seasoned performer, does not always take centre stage but every offhand comment she makes hits a home run, and even when she is just milling in the background, she is always in full character doing some- thing that will make you laugh -- a definite scene stealer.
When the dialogue seems to stifle, the narrator intervenes to spice things up, for example, making one character speak in a Brummie accent... and then adding a requirement that he must speak in iambic pentameter too! The musical styles are also prescribed at times by this narrator, with Ruth Bratt delivering an enthralling performance in the style of German composer Kurt Weill as the main evil mermaid.
Popular musicals like Six and Hamilton are suggested by the audience with Adam Meggido taking on a musical rap, seamlessly creating a whole song in this difficult style on the fly. Meggido is able to bring humour, leading the troupe during a Spice Girls style opening number, as well as conveying more serious scenes when his love interest with the captain comes into play, al- lowing the rather helter skelter plot to advance.
Improvised shows are impressive, and this troupe are adding singing and dancing to an already difficult art form. Amazingly, any plot points in this review are irrelevant as next time the show is on, the story will be completely different but the waterfalls of talent coming from the cast will be intact.