On the reverse of the flyer The Olivier Award winning musical improvisation group The Showstoppers suggested Sondheim on a ski lift and Cole Porter in Poundland as shows they have improvised before. Inspired by the vague possibility of any musical style involving our favourite venue, Poundland, East Midland’s Theatre hot foots it down to The Theatre Royal Nottingham to see the show that is never the same each night they perform. Although we have seen a few amateur shows in the past that were unintentionally ‘never the same each night they perform’ this professional showing looks intriguingly funny. And it is a musical like no other too.
It is one thing to be a good theatre improviser or even and excellent theatre improviser but quite another to improvise musical numbers on the spot. The Showstoppers on stage tonight, Ruth Bratt, Philip Pellew, Andrew Pugsley, Lucy Trodd, Sarah Louise Young and MC Sean McCann are hilariously funny. They are accompanied by two gifted musicians side stage. In one hundred minutes they (from suggestions taken from the audience) put together a daft musical based on, amongst other things, Doncaster, Shirebrook, Atlantis, Sondheim, Rocky Horror and Ghost.
As they comically improvise and musically progress through the themes MC Sean McCann freezes the action and offers further character plots – again based on unplanned audience suggestions. Grease may not ‘be the word’ here but superb spontaneity reigns on the Theatre Royal Stage tonight. It will be totally different every night until Saturday 9th July and what they come up with is so stunningly good you would want to come back every night to see what they come up with next. The press night audience seems to be full of musical theatre lovers laughing at a Rocky Horror styled football song and roaring their approval at another improvised song about a deluge. The first half finishes on a high and there is not one Misèrable face in the packed audience. If at all possible the second half gets even funnier! In a relatively short show we profoundly wish we could stay with them One Day More but then we wouldn’t be able to move our faces from laughing so much.
Reviewer: Phil Lowe