Some may say that musicals are hard to write, but that hasn’t deterred Showstopper! The Musical from creating a brand new one during each show. The troupe of musical comedy performers and the talented on-stage band are set the daunting task of improvising a musical based on suggestions from the audience.
During Tuesday’s performance, the audience were treated to ‘What the Fact’. You’ll probably never get the chance to see it, but here’s a summary for flavour of what you might be in for. The Museum of Facts is run by Mrs McGonagall, the inventor of facts. We learn about the transient nature of facts and see how facts can even bring lovers together.
There’s something thrilling about being in the presence of performers who are firmly in the moment and enter each performance not knowing where the show will lead them. As the musical is based on suggestions by the audience and their enthusiastic cheers in favour of a certain idea, the format in theory should never go stale.
The performers do try to include synchronised choreography but at best you’re going to get some swaying and simple hand movements. More impressive is how the cast are able to hold a six part harmony and do it better than some other rehearsed musicals out there.
A crowd favourite was the number ‘In the Inner Sanctum’ which was an homage to Hamilton’s ‘In the Room where it Happens’. There was also a slightly ridiculous Lion King number all about facts complete with wailing and animal impressions. It was all tied together in the rousing finale title song ‘What the Fact’.
The entire team are undeniably talented, but there is an element of luck involved in whether you’ll have an enjoyable show. There were times where the actors had to wade through for a while until they landed on a funny joke or pun before the momentum picked up again. But of course it’s easy to forgive this considering the tall order that creating a musical on the spot is. Either way, it is clearly an audience favourite and certainly one to recommend for musical theatre fans.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is running at the Pleasance Courtyard – The Grand on Aug 7-12, 14-25 at the time of writing.