The Other Palace, London – until 16 March 2019
I’ve been watching the Showstopper crew for as long as I’ve been blogging (the King’s Head was a great venue for them), so it’s a real treat to see them constantly move onwards and upwards, stepping up from their monthly West End residencies (which they’re still continuing) to a fully fledged seven-week run at The Other Palace, during which they have celebrated their 1,000th show.
For the uninitiated, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is a show that is made up on the spot by a group of disgustingly talented comedians, taken from ideas given by the audience in terms of musical influences, plot twists and titles. It’s as simple as that and it is ingeniously done, night after night, to produce a brand new musical each time, which has never failed to leave me helpless with laughter.
The above pic shows an example of what you might expect. The night I saw it, we saw the Nashville lesbian love story Tennessee Waltz, blending in songs in the style of Come From Away, Hamilton, My Fair Lady, and The Book of Mormon. And as per usual it was great fun – funny, surprising, unexpectedly moving too – improv has that great gift of being able to casually up LGBT+ representation on our stages almost under the radar, a significance that shouldn’t be underestimated.
And as a big fan of the company, it was a great reminder of their talent across the board as they rotate every night. Initially I was sad not to have Ruth Bratt appearing (for she is a god among comedians) but within minutes I’d forgotten said disappointment as Pippa Evans and Lauren Shearing gave us a love story for the ages, supported by a very game Justin Brett, Andrew Pugsley and co-director Adam Meggido. Highly recommended, for multiple trips.