The Other Palace, London – until 16 March 2019
Guest reviewer: Nicola Louise
There’s a reason Showstopper! won an Oliver Award; there’s a reason why this show (which on the tin has the potential to be messy) has been running for near enough 12 years without fail, and that reason is that it’s pure brilliance.
Showstopper! is fun, new and refreshing and a different show every performance means you can go back and enjoy the comedy again and again without boredom setting in. There’s always something new and exciting to watch.
The basic premise of the show is this: Cameron Mackintosh wants a new musical, and he wants it written within the next two hours – as audience members we’re invited to help. Our job is to set the ball rolling and call out places for the setting as well as styles of musicals or composers, then vote which ones we think are the best. We also help with the title of the performance, ours was ‘Austria the Moosical’ (can you guess what that was about??)
We had a range of musical styles within out show, Fiddler on the Roof, Mamma Mia, Les Mis, Titanic, The Sound of Music and School of Rock.
There’s clearly a format which the actors follow but this doesn’t make the show less enjoyable. The story and songs are made up on the spot with the band doing very well to keep up with the styles of musicals being called out by the producer who’s sat on stage and helps move the story forward.
From scene to scene there seems to be a leader within the improv group, who the cast refer to for leads. The company works very well together and apart from a couple of actors speaking at the same time, there’s nothing bad to say about this show.
Improv is always going to worry some theatre goers: “Are they going to be boring?”, “Are they going to now know what to say next?” But personally I feel improv adds a whole other level to shows. Even scripted shows which include some improv always feel unique and special.
The cast on stage clearly love what they do and this comes through from the moment they step on stage and the first word is spoken. They enjoy the laughter their improv brings and you can see the hard work and dedication they put in to performing a new musical every night.
I wasn’t too sure what I’d make of this show when I first heard about it, but from the moment the show started, I realised that my worries were just that of how I’ve seen previous improv shows performed.
If you’re questioning whether to see this show or not … STOP! This show defies theatre as we know it and will bring a smile to our face from beginning to end. I’ve already informed friends that they need to see this show, I suggest you run out now and buy the tickets, you won’t regret it.
Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical is currently playing at The Other Palace until the 16th March 2019. Tickets can be purchased via London Box Office here