Showstopper! The (Socially Distanced!) Improvised Musical - ★★★★ - Until August 30, 2020

Photographer: Hugo Glendinning. 

'Adapt and change' seems to be the way forward for theatre in 2020. Showstopper!, which has been running successfully in the West End for several seasons with an Olivier Award already under its belt, has created hundreds of improvised musicals before our eyes and ears. This, however, is its first foray into online entertainment and, judging by the audience feedback, it will prove very popular. Four very talented performers – Ruth Bratt, Justin Brett, Pippa Evans and Adam Megiddo, backed by Duncan Walsh Atkins and Alex Atty in the band – work incredibly hard creating and linking songs in the style of favourites from Hamilton, Les Miserables and many more. We also enjoy seeing them flesh out the flimsiest of plots as suggested by audience members; on this occasion, the story involved a hot air balloon trip and time travel. The reimagined format is obviously still unfamiliar to the performers and without a live audience the show takes a while to get into its stride, but by the second act everything was coming together very well. It is the nature of the beast that the songs will be derivative but that is part of the fun, and it does demonstrate the difficultly of writing a good show tune that doesn't sound like a thousand others. Technically the production is a great success with excellent use of split screens and terrific editing by Andrew Pugsley, who also hosted the evening. Showstopper! is a joyous romp and as the optimistic finale proclaims: “We know our happiness will see us through.”

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until August 30, 2020
Showstopper Productions Ltd (online)
Various show times available at:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/showstopper

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