Improv, unscripted and unrehearsed theatre, is currently underrated. I have had long conversations attempting to describe improv to which I eventually get the exclamation of ‘You mean like “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”!’ - a 90’s Channel 4 hit which sadly is not trendy nostalgia.
For those yet to marvel at the quick witted prowess achieved in this craft, a great introduction to improv is The Showstoppers’ Showstopper! The Musical! Each night is a one-off and with the help of an enthusiastic and tiddly audience, the artists are provided with locations, a title and musicals to draw inspiration from. That’s it. For the next hour it’s showtime.
Last Thursday, at Leicester Square Theatre, The Showstoppers were given the following to work with: a drugs clinic next to Hadrian’s Wall, a cave and the title ‘Shaking Bad’. With accompanying live music, a story unravelled of a doctor who treats a patient to 10% of the world’s drugs resulting in deadly super powers (victims set ablaze by a sniff!).
West End and Broadway hit references were spot-on such as the Chicago-esque number with bouncy hip action and the final scene’s rousing harmonies nodding to The Lion King. Costumes ranged from the plausible (doctor = white coat) to the hilariously daft (police superintendent = cavalier hat)
Showstopper! The Musical! is gleefully silly yet also very clever. It takes a while to get over the point that everything on stage is created then and there as the Showstoppers make it look so flawless. It also delivers what all the great musicals do such as epic storylines, big emotional vocals and group choreography. One of my descriptions of improv has been ‘like acting, but making it up as you go along’ which unwittingly made it all sound a bit rubbish - great improv is anything but as The Showstoppers prove!
For more information on The Showstoppers' upcoming appearances please visit http://www.showstopperthemusical.com