Showstopper! - Theatre Review

An ‘unmissable’ new musical SHOWSTOPPER! is making waves at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington’s Upper Street. Every performance is improvised, so literally anything is possible.

FEW shows deserve the label “unmissable” but Showstopper!, the improvised musical, is one of them.

On a usual night, a company of five singer-actors create a completely new musical based on musical and thematic suggestions from the audience.

I had the honour of attending a special ‘critic’s show’, which featured the input of the notorious West End Whingers - a theatre duo of critics from the blogosphere.

Quasi-anonymous and scourge of many a high-budget production, the Whingers had arrived armed with a review of the best musical they had ‘never’ seen, and laid down the gauntlet to the Showstopper company to bring it to life.

‘Dametastick!!’ centred on the fortunes of two has-been actresses and their final, desperate bid for a comeback, and unfolded with the requisite “intrigue and hilarity”.

As an experiment, this worked to a degree. I can’t fault the Whingers for their imagination and good sportsmanship, but I much preferred my previous visit to Showstopper, when the company was given complete freedom to interpret and show off their simply mind-boggling talent of improvisation, and knowledge of musical theatre styles.

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Still, we saw some excellent mime work from Adam Meggido, and razor sharp characterisation by the astonishing Ruth Bratt. Pippa Evans didn’t have much to go on, but made some inspired contributions - including “breasts made of jam / arms made of ham”, which made me cry with laughter.

As with every visit to Showstopper, you really had to be there.

* Showstopper! is at the King’s Head Theatre in Upper Street, N1, every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday until December 21