Lyric Theatre, London
Reviewed by Rhys Payne
Having booked tickets for Showstopper! at the Lyric theatre in London I was very perplexed as to how you perform an entirely improvised musical but I have to be honest it was one of the most entertaining shows I have seen in a long time and I already can’t wait to see it again.
Before seeing the show I realised I had to write a review for the performance which really did fill me with a lot of angst. The purpose of a review is to say this show is really good or not and encourage people but this is extremely difficult as the show I saw will be nothing like the show that someone else will see. Due to this I can’t really comment or promote the content of the show but instead the atmosphere and emotions it invokes. I have always wanted to see a live performance of improvised theatre as I have only ever seen it in shows on tv and it seemed like a barrel of laughs so to actually get to see something improved was great but it is an entire musical took it to a whole other level!
The first thing you need to keep in mind for this show is that it could be considered as a show perfect for extreme musical theatre fans. This was the most obvious thing that was clear even before the show opened. When I walked into the theatre we were greeted with a medley of musical theatre classics which had the majority of the audience sang (and danced) along to. This is a new thing for me to see an audience who got so involved with the production before it even opened but I guess this was to ease the audience into any audience participant sections later in the show. This concept was also used to give the audience ideas and suggestions for the story which I will discuss later.
As I have already said this is an entirely improvised musical which means every show is different. This is facilitated by narrator asking the audience for a collection of possible locations which is then voted on by the rest of the audience, next the audience are asked for musicals they like and modified versions of certain songs in the musical will appear in Showstopper! (which shows the talent of both the performers and the band that were on stage) and finally the audience is asked for a title which once decided upon the person who suggests the name gets given a prize in act two. With this in mind, in an ideal world, I would want to watch this show again with just me in the audience so I can suggest all the musicals I enjoy.
In this performance it took place in a McDonald’s with songs inspired by Hamilton, West Side Story, Come From Away and We Will Rock You which are not musicals that I am particularly familiar with but I was still able to appreciate the skills and talent being showcased.
This was performed by an extremely talented cast who clearly have a strong bond and connection in and off stage. They were able to flawlessly bounce off each other with the quick wit and hilarious jokes which made for a very easy to watch and enjoyable show to watch. Even when mistakes were made, for example, character being called the name etc, they were acknowledged on stage in a hilarious manner and within the world, the show was set it. I often see shows were I think the cast is talented and stuff but these people involved in Showstopper! clearly know the craft inside and out and are able to work together excellently which is an exceptional skill that many shows do not contain.
Overall this was a hilarious and enjoyable show however I believe I may have missed some of the musical references due to the fact that I am unfamiliar with the shows that were chosen. However, I would strongly encourage everyone to catch the chaotic musical in the Lyric theatre as it is only performed once a month and only two performances before it is gone for good!