Showstopper! The Improvised Musical @ The Pleasance Courtyard (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015) Review

The queue begins forming for the Pleasance Upstairs nearly 40 minutes before Showstoppers is due to start, with an exciting buzz of theatregoers old and young, tall and short, quirky and… normal.  We enter to a tuneful entourage of a three piece band, musically directed by the more-than-capable hands of Duncan Walsh Atkins, whilst our soon-to-be narrator Sean McCann meanders around the modernistic red framed scenery, taking in his surroundings, commanding both the stage and the auditorium from the minute we enters.

Showstopper

The show begins with a phone call from Cameron Mackintosh demanding we create a new musical in the space of 70 minutes. Mission accepted! McCann, comedically and with ease, plucks ideas from the willing audience for the setting, the title and the musical genre. He returns Mr Mackintosh’s call before announcing the start of our new show, “Let’s get Battered”, a musical based in a late night Fast Food Joint. At which point the six incredibly talented Showstoppers open with a huge musical number, in the style of Sweeney Todd, set in Guiseppe’s late night Fish & Chip shop.

The six actors take us on a romantic, Pygmalion-themed journey of unrequited love between Chippy Girl ‘Gloria’ (played by the hilarious Pippa Evans) and city worker ‘Henry’ (played by the hysterical Adam Meggido) with the the help of their ‘Posh Pals’ and ‘Fish Frying Friends’ (equally funny Ruth Bratt, Justin Brett, & Nell Mooney) with occasional interceptions from the Narrator adding a comedic plot twist or a new musical genre.
The show moves seamlessly from scene to scene, as if it has already done a six month run at the Savoy!
The tunes are phenomenally catchy, to the point that when exiting the venue, you can hear pockets of audience members singing the side splitting ditties – my favourite being “It’s Just A Little Bit Of Fun Henry”. The cast and musicians are so in tune with each other (excuse the pun), one would be excused for thinking the whole thing has been pre-written and rehearsed for weeks, but this is just a compliment to their improvisational skill and accuracy, as all plot lines and suggestions are 100% audience driven!
I find this show faultless. I praise the cast for their singing ability; I commend them for their poetic excellence and I doff my hat for their absolute commitment to comedy and improvisation. I wish them the best for their West End run – a show not to be missed! 5/5
Review written by Katie Haygarth.
Showstoppers is currently showing at the Pleasance Courtyard as part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival until Sunday 30th August. For more information on the production, visit here…
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