REVIEW: The Showstoppers' Kids Show and Showstopper: The improvised musical, Theatre Royal, Saturday
Improvisation experts the Showstopper team were back in Bury St Edmunds this weekend for three shows tailored to all ages – and I was lucky enough to see the children's and adult performances on Saturday.
For those in the dark, the premise is the team ask the audience for suggestions and immediately create a musical around those ideas. Even if – in the case of the kids show – those ideas are for a funny Dracula flying to a world where people poop penguins. Yes, seriously.
You could not ask for more offbeat suggestions than those the young audience came up with, but somehow the team made it work.
Performers Andrew Pugsley, Ruth Bratt, Philip Pellett, Ali James and Sean McCann were joined by musicians Duncan Walsh Atkins and Craig Apps for the madcap afternoon, where we saw a musical set in a haunted house also feature Hades, songs about bubbling hot lava, the joke-telling Dracula create a 'whole load of something' in order to defeat Hades, while the two enemies eventually settles their differences over a Costa.
For the grown-up performance of Showstopper the team was boosted by Julie Clare for our musical – called Welly Never – which was set at the wonderfully alliterative Walberswick Welly Wanging Competition. It featured love, deception and victory in the styles of musicals including Phantom of the Opera and Nine to Five.
As always, it defies belief that any musical could be made up on the spot, but somehow they manage it.
It's funny, engaging and very, very entertaining. If (and when) the production returns to Bury, I'll be first in line for tickets.
Although, there is a little part of me that wishes I'd been there for Friday's musical production of 'Free on Tuesdays', which was set in a pay and display car park.