Sunday, February 28, 2021

SHOWSTOPPER: THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL (27.2.21) (The Showstoppers)****

By Cal


Available until: I’m not sure they said, but the video is usually available for a couple of days.

The Showstoppers are back with another hilarious and extraordinary improvised show. Once more, four intrepid Showstoppers put themselves into the hands of their audience and I don’t think they regretted it. The audience certainly didn’t.

This show took an unusually romantic turn based on one of the ideas given for the plot of the musical. Many ideas were sent into the chat as usual and host Dylan Emery gave the Showstoppers four to choose from. They decided to try to incorporate all four, but they chose my favourite suggestion for the main story and it turned out to be really moving. It’s especially great to see a gay story which is about whether or not your crush loves you back. The kind of thing that can happen to anyone who falls in love. Contrary to popular opinion, being gay doesn’t mean you fancy everyone of your own gender so unrequited love can happen.

The title was chosen at the start of the second half. Andrew Pugsley, who has appeared as host and Showstopper, was in the live chat this time (maybe next time we’ll see him in the band). Four suggested titles picked out by Dylan for the Showstoppers to choose from. These are usually really impressive puns, but because of the romantic theme, there were a couple of romantic options too. The Showstoppers didn’t choose my favourite, but considering the law of averages, they do choose my favourite a lot more often than you’d expect so no complaints there.

There are lots of styles which we’ve seen before and maybe a couple of them are coming up a bit too often – we know these amazing Showstoppers can improvise in the style of Les Misérables, Hadestown and Hamilton so maybe it’s time to see something different. Though we did get something very different this time – a song in the style of a specific Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. One great thing about Showstopper is that even when you don’t like the musical they’re singing in the style of, you can still admire the incredible skills of the performers.

Not all the song styles are suggested by the audience. Sometimes the band (Duncan Walsh Atkins on keyboard and Alex Atty on percussion) just starts playing. This meant a lot of the songs ended up in the style of an old-fashioned English musical, which really added to the romantic feel of the musical. The Showstoppers performed the style perfectly. I especially enjoyed Pippa’s singing as I haven’t seen her for a while. I’d forgotten how lovely her voice is and how well she can hit those high notes. Not that I’m getting tired of Adam, Ruth and Joshua! They’re all welcome on my screen anytime.

The first half had some real bangers and although things do take a slightly weird turn in the second half, it did include ducks (in some amazing costumes – I especially loved Joshua’s) so I’ll let them off. I’ll be watching that back later to check it’s appropriate to show to a six year old who loves ducks, but I’ll make sure I hide the chat. Dylan did hint that there are things in the chat which a six year old really shouldn’t be seeing. Especially not when she’s a very good reader and likes to ask questions.

The Showstoppers are all brilliant. Adam Meggido as usual gave an incredible performance as the character who I’d probably call the protagonist. He not only improvises the songs brilliantly, he puts so much emotion into them and really makes sure we care for his character, as well as making sure we have a lot of fun. Joshua C. Jackson is as sweet as ever, rather naughty but definitely very likeable. Ruth Bratt and Pippa Evans are lovely as two friends who actually seem to like each other. You don’t need arguments and backstabbing to create a good scene. Being nice to each other works too.

We have to wait another month for the next Showstoppers offering, but they’ll be spoiling us with two shows, which probably means even more Showstoppers. There are at least eleven of them so that’s enough for a football team. And the Showstoppers are unbeatable.

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