Showstopper! bring their improvised musical to the Garrick on Mondays
“The Circle of Lies”
Lyric from an improvised Lion King
Back at the Garrick, keeping coats on as the ventilation required for Coronavirus safety can be chilly, for Showstopper! the improvised musicals which has been charming audiences for a while.
The permutations are endless and the audience are asked to text or twitter in a scenario in which to set the musical and the name of a favourite musical to select a style. It is a version of one of the games played yesteryear at the Comedy Store improvisation Team and by the panel on Channel 4’s 1980s Whose Line is it Anyway? which included Josie Lawrence and the late great John Sessions. The quirkiest and the most original suggestions will be read out and three of each whittled down from a large selection. This audience input should mean a different show every performance, keeping things fresh for players and audience alike.
Of course these five actor/singers are very talented with good strong voices as well as quick wits. A popular choice of subject the night I saw was covid laid off actors retrained and treating new jobs as if they were still acting. Another was a history lesson in the future looking back at the present day. Great ideas which the Showstopper team took on board.
The shows chosen were Rocky Horror, Hamilton, Phantom, The Lion King, Six and Sondheim. Whilst I understand the issues in terms of performing rights, it is shame that we lose the fabulous tunes from these shows to settle for the bare bones of rhythm and the style of hip hop in the case of Hamilton, soaring crescendos for Phantom or rather shouty, staccato Sondheim. The Lion King choreography without the animal costumes felt much less than the sensational Julie Taymor opening number for The Lion King. I was starting to wish that I was there for a show of West End big musical excerpts rather than an improvisation show.
Dylan Emery chairs the show collecting the information and deciding the order. We did enjoy it as the board collapsed unrehearsed with the chosen musicals on it, as did a corpsing cast. Andrew Pugsley takes a lead role but Adam Meggido and Pippa Evans excel singing. Adam Meggido seemed to enjoy his knight of the theatre role as aging thesp. Justin Brett specialised in the Canadian roles and Ali James was left out of a lot of collaboration like a neglected puppy.
However the audience loved it and were on their feet. Maybe the first show they had seen for months caused an infectious atmosphere in the Garrick? I did like the Showstopper videos for children which make a change from so much of children’s television which is cartoons, Peppa Pig, Hey Duggee and Disney’s Frozen. The Showstopper online children’s show seemed to stimulate imagination and whacky ideas.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical
Creators and Directors: Adam Meggido and Dylan Emery
Duncan Walsh Atkins
Cereators and Director: Adam Meggido and Dylan Emery
Musical Supervisor Duncan Walsh Atkins
Movement Director: Ali James,
Set Designer: Simon Scullion
Costume and Prop Design: Gabriella Slade
Lighting Design: Damien Robertson
Sound Design: Oscar Thompson
Running Time: One hour 15 minutes without an interval
Garrick Dates : 11 January, 8 & 22 February,
8 & 22 March 2021,
2 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0HH
Website: Showstopper! The Musical
Rail/Tube: Charing Cross
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge at the Garrick
on 7th December 2020