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Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical
at Norwich Playhouse

Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 22 February 2011

There are performer-improvisers, creating sketches from random audience suggestions in bizarre styles and settings. There are quality musical companies. And then there is Showstopper! the Improvised Musical.

Every night, the team of eight talented artists create a musical from scratch, based on ideas called out. A Director steers, sifting ideas (and unafraid to take risks, like male stripper), allowing the cast’s talents act, dance and sing the ad-hoc tale.

A packed Playhouse rocked with laughter as a Retirement Home in the future was chosen as setting. Styles from Les Miserables, Wicked, Annie and the Lion King were demanded with a tribute to Tim Burton tagged on, all under the title, How I Met Your Grandmother.

To improvise successfully, performers must work together in absolute mutual trust; these also need wide knowledge of musical theatre, film, TV, topical news and ability to sing in appropriate rhyme, time after time.

The amazing keyboard musician both lead and followed, conjuring moods as the show flew through time, across genres and finally to Buenos Aires for a climax.

Making as much sense as many musical plots, delivered with panache, originality, parody and style, it was both comic and touching. Brilliant.

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