There are a lot of improvised shows out there these days, so in order to be a success each one has to have a unique selling point. This one goes for it all – the triple threat of improvisation with a made-up storyline, songs and dances.
The “musical” starts brightly as co-founder, producer and director of Showstopper, Dylan Emery, asks for setting suggestions by the enthusiastic audience. Anything goes and so a girls’ toilet, Disneyland and Las Vegas are all offered before being simultaneously rejected. The setting for tonight will be The War of the Spanish Succession. After some more audience interaction a list of musicals to base the various scenes on is drawn up and all that is left is for a title: We Will Rioja You!
To make a storyline from nothing is no mean feat and it is even more impressive still to watch the cast improvise songs in the styles given to them by the audience. Adam Meggido (doubling up as producer and director) and Lauren Shearing take responsibility for getting the plot going tonight before Pippa Evans comes to the stage as “Queen Philippa” and shines. Her singing is mellifluous throughout and Evans and Ruth Bratt make a fabulous comedy double-act from start to finish.
Not everyone’s singing is as mellifluous, however. Moments of poor tuning are peppered throughout the performance which would also be improved with some more energetic and high quality dancing. The company have a sizeable cast but a musical is all about the song and dance numbers and the latter were distinctly lacking.
It doesn’t take away from the think-on-their-feet talents the cast do have and, as ever with improv, perhaps it will be different tomorrow…