Some actors often struggle to learn their lines, but thankfully for the cast of Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, there are none. Instead, they just have to worry about making them up, fresh every night, based on the audiences random suggestions. All set to music. Impressive, yes?!
I’d be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of improvisation. Several cringe worthy student shows spring to mind. The Showstoppers! are no amateurs though and within the first minute, I was already completely sold. The premise for tonight’s show, chosen through the power of whooping and cheering, was a band of merry miners, searching for gold on the slopes of Mount Kili-moon-jaro, the moon’s highest mountain. On the moon, we found Commander Cartwright struggling to hide his love for Lieutenant Sarah.
The story played out through a series of brilliantly funny and unscripted musical numbers, performed in the style of Wicked, The Boyfriend and The Book of Mormon amongst others. It isn’t all light hearted though; the miners encountered serious issues such as moon madness. In case you are worried, the symptoms include subtly acting like a chicken. Thankfully though it can be kept at bay through regular dance scrabble battles so keep your word skills sharp and your dance moves sharper.
At the interval, the audience are encouraged to tweet suggestions to open the second act. The first act had ended with Sarah rejecting Commander Cartwright on the summit of Mount Kili-moon-jaro, and happily the audience liked my suggestion of Commander Cartwright struggling to end it all in a zero gravity environment. Before we knew it, we had a funny 1920’s themed number, made up on the spot complete with dance moves. No suggestion is a bad suggestion. Sarah’s interval tweet got the Commander speaking only in rhyming couplets, and the poor cast also had to perform the “Spandau Ballet ballet”, whilst improvising an 80’s new romantics song about the Commander’s despair.
By now, you are probably thinking this sounds like a brilliant standalone musical. Sadly you won’t ever be able to see our version but why not go along with your own suggestions and see what funny story they come up with? Alternatively, you might think that the whole thing sounds ridiculous and you’d be right; it is ridiculously funny, they are ridiculously talented and I am ridiculously jealous that they can make the whole thing up so smoothly without missing a beat. If you can’t decide what show to see, then make sure it is these masters of musical cliché and improvised lyrics; they’ll probably improvise them all.