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Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at the Apollo Theatre – ‘a must-see’

A scene from Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. Photo: Geraint Lewis A scene from Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. Photo: Geraint Lewis
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To be asked along to review a show twice in the same day is unusual, but entirely fitting for Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.

Eight years after this project first saw the light of day, its creators – Dylan Emery and Adam Meggido – are seeing their ever-changing progeny presented in its first full West End run. On this evidence, the format has by no means run out of steam.

Within a regular company of 12 performers, a group of six actors takes turns to improvise each musical, along with MC Emery skilfully prompting a stream of ideas from the audience (title, musical style, plot ideas), keeping the action on track and throwing the artists a few curveballs every now and then.

On this occasion there is an opportunity to catch ‘Puck Off’, a moral tale set in a fairy grotto somewhere in Northern Ireland, or there’s ‘The Lyin’ King’ during which the spotlight falls on an ambitious intern being economical with the truth at the Daily Mail.

There may be the odd dip in pace, but what these uber-talented improvisers – on this occasion Meggido, Andrew Pugsley, Sarah-Louise Young, Justin Brett, Pippa Evans and the really quite brilliant Ruth Bratt – achieve with just a few suggestions, hardly any set and a handful of props and costumes, is staggeringly good.

Boosted by the crucial support of MD Duncan Walsh Atkins and fellow musicians Chris Ash and Craig Apps, there appears to be no musical style this ensemble can’t replicate, and the onstage chemistry is a joy. Worth a return visit and then perhaps another.

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In-depth knowledge of musical theatre and improvisation skills second to none make Showstopper! a must-see