Showstopper! The Improvised Musical


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is simply a group of improvisers– musicians, actors and technicians. After a successful run at London’s West End Apollo Theatre, they set out on a UK tour and paid a visit to The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.

What is unique about this production is that it is YOUR show. The audience decide how and where they spend the evening. First off, they get audience members to suggest locations, which is then voted on (still by the audience) as to where you wish to spend the evening. Next, they request musicals which show or composer would you like the music and lyrics to be styled like. Finally, they require a fetching titled for the show that is about to be improvised…

The show I attended, ended up being titled “I Bought My Lighthouse at IKEA“, needless to say the locations involved Orford Ness and it’s lighthouse, and a newly opened IKEA store. The musical styles included an interesting mix of: Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, Gillbert and Sullivan, Flanders and Swann and Stephen Sondheim. With a storyline involving several intertwining characters each with their own stories, and touching on the subjects and themes of family relationships, romance, drama and the struggles of making a business work, while having plenty of fun and comedy through-out, and a quick change to heading in a more ‘mature’ manner for act two which the audience loved.

However it’s pointless me focusing on the show I attended, because it will never be the same again!

That’s what makes this show great. It’s not only their talent and ability to turn the random and unknown into a story (albeit as funny and ridiculous it may be) but also the fact it’s such a small cast, with only 5 to 6 cast members on stage, a ‘producer’ and a couple of musicians, thinking so quickly on their feet but still making it work, it’s amazing what they can do in two hours.

Also, it was fun to have the total audience involvement, even down to the fact the audience could tweet in their suggestions for the ending during the interval and cater to that, they would occasionally even try to include some of the disregarded ideas from the start of the show. Something about this show seemed to bring the audience together in a way I hadn’t seen before, with everyone laughing at the same parts, connecting with each other over their shared admiration for theatre and comedy, and even discovering random facts about some of the audience!

It’s a show that no matter what direction the audience take it, it will always be full of fun, comedy and catchy musical numbers! If you’re a fan of musicals and/or comedy, it’s a must-see!

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