A bit of comedy in these challenging times is just what the Doctor ordered. Well, a vaccine would help but comedy will do the trick also. The Showstoppers finally made their long awaited and triumphant return to the West End for their first in person show this year, bringing with them the madness and hilarity that always surrounds their performances.
For those of you who haven't experienced Showstopper!, it sees a group of performers improv their way through a brand new musical based on audience suggestions. The audience come up with the setting, musical styles, any plot twists and even the title. What follows is a masterclass in creativity, meaning that every night is an opening night (and also closing night I guess but let's stay positive)
I have been to a few Showstopper shows in the past. While they are all different and unique in their own way, by the law of averages some will always be better than ever. My favourites ones that stand out in my mind are one set in Pompeii and another at a Jewish wedding, brilliantly titled I Jew. This show was a murder at the dog show - the title of which, actually suggested by me (Yes, I'm proud) was Dog Gone.
Kicking off with the obligatory phone call from the producer "Hi Cameron" , this time the dialogue was changed to say "Yes it has been quiet" before telling us we are here to celebrate the reopening of theatre. Over the following 75 minutes, the four Showstoppers created a world of characters and scenarios completely improvised which can only be described as genius. While some of their shows have the tendency to go off in to strange and disjointed areas, this one kept on topic and remarkably felt very structured - with a conclusion that left the audience gasping,
A revolving cast of Showstoppers meant that last nights performance featured Pippa Evans, Adam Meggido, Justin Brett and Lucy Trodd - who all reacted to eachother to create the illusion that this madcap and spontaneous creation was actually rehearsed, through their brilliant skills of following anothers actions and repeating lyrics instantly (even if that can often result in mishearing).
Photo by Hugo Glendinning
Musical styles featured last night included a song in the style of Lin Manuel Miranda called 'Man Down', an incredible Phantom of the Opera inspired performance which saw Pippa Evans channel her inner Christine, and even a song in the style of The Lion King. Brilliantly held together by Dylan Emery, occasionally he stops the action to give them a new directive - last nights included a hilarious scene in the style of Shakespeare and even a scene which got increasingly East End.
One highlight of the night had to be Justin Brett's Horatio - a butler who started out as a bit character but stole every scene with his slow and strange movement. The showstoppers mantra of going with the flow was exemplified here, with the character inserted in more scenes and even becoming part of the furniture in one.
What The Showstoppers do should not be taken lightly. The way they seamlessly create shows out of almost nothing is close to genius and gives me envy on how their brains work. They are having fun on stage which leaves the audiences having no choice but to have fun with them. Always different but consistently fantastic, this show is guaranteed to be loved by any fans of musical and comedy. Thank God this show is back in the West End after being stopped for so long. There really is no stopping the Showstoppers.
Showstopper plays the Garrick Theatre once a month. For tickets see nimaxtheatres.com
They are also doing a series of other gigs and livestreams around the UK. For full listings, see https://showstopperthemusical.com/upcoming-shows/