Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at The Other Palace
The latest performance of hit improvised musical Showstopper!, from co-creators Dylan Emery and Adam Meggido, greatly impresses in its zany 1000th live routine.
Emery stars as the host and writer asked to create a brand new musical, which he achieves with the help of audience suggestions at intermittent pauses during the sequence. As usual, there are a varied selection of choices from a category of enthralling settings, varying from Northern Norway and backstage at The Royal Command Performance to the winning choice of a soup kitchen in 1882 Yorkshire. Further suggestions also include famous musicals for the ensemble to play around with, such as Oklahoma, Singin’ in the Rain, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Producers, all chosen based on the loudest audience cheers.
The production is a madcap, exceptional improvisation, making you marvel at how the company keep timing so well while making up the plot, script, songs and dance as they go along – with the help of their accompanying music maestros. Having surpassed its initial run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival with 89 seats in a portacabin, before going on to win the 2016 Olivier Award, Showstopper! is truly an incomparable theatrical marvel, each performance a unique spectacle which will never be seen again. Even through spontaneity, the cast present a show that is expertly streamlined with minimal fault, making for a highly enjoyable experience that has the audience laughing constantly.
Tonight’s comedy takes place in Skipton’s soup kitchen, named after the couple who own it – played by Justin Brett and Lauren Shearing. The pair soon receive a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Yorkshire (Andrew Pugsley and Ruth Bratt), the latter giving a highlight performance as the heartless yet comical lady, breaking into a song about the poor and needy in the style of Mel Brooks’s Producers. In its second act, the show sees the group feature suggestions made by spectators through Twitter, with twists and turns reflecting those in a soap opera – namely unexpected pregnancies and love interests – while a quirky request for 30 flavours of soup presented in the style of Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat is achieved with ease.
There exists a thorough discipline behind improvisation, and Showstopper! completely reflects its title. Who would have thought you could make a two-hour, hilariously unpredictable musical all about soup? This extremely skilled and outstanding cast prove they can work with anything the audience propose; Emery and Meggido have struck theatre gold with a production that will literally never run out of ideas.
Photos: Alex Harvey-Brown
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is at The Other Palace from 24th January until 16th March 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.