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Review: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (Garrick Theatre)

Returning to the Garrick Theatre feels like coming home. After a long 9 months of

withdrawal symptoms, I am back! There is an exciting atmosphere in the air right from the

first few moments of being in the theatre; with audience members cheering and whooping. The chair, Dylan Emery, has a wonderful stage presence, setting up how the evening will work. He presents us with some top tier options for the setting of the piece that audience members have previously text in; as well as choosing the musical genre.

After some deliberation, Emery picks Rocky Horror, Hamilton and Lion King, which he will

randomly throw into the scenes for the cast to break out into song to. For our musical style, we as an audience clap to vote on what the plot will be. It is ordered that the cast create a story around unemployed actors, acting out a play amongst every day scenarios. Many witty jokes are made about our current climate, which are relevant and teasing. The cast and band execute the style of music well, with identifiable beats and melodies for the assigned musical. I sit in anticipation and awe, whilst watching the cast members improvise so quickly to the given music and to relate it to their current scene.

A Change of Direction is the title of the musical we create as an audience, with ‘all the

world’s a stage’ being taken literally. There are hilarious and random moments, such as

waving our pebbles in the air… Don’t ask. Not only is it 75 minutes of quick thinking and

comical moments; the singing is outstanding! The whole cast have a playful chemistry, with no one member shining brighter than the others.

At times the plot can get lost to the song they are improvising, getting carried away with

repeating lines or empty character objectives; but this is no detriment to the concept. Other times, it can feel almost too polished. I would have loved to have seen more laughter and chaos on the stage with their improvisation instead of taking it in turns to sing a line. However, the theatre company show complete trust and confidence in one another, which is the most magical thing about this production. Each night, it is a personalised Westend musical and you get to decide what happens. A genius concept, with a talented cast- A must see!

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is on at the Garrick Theatre, for more information and tickets click here.

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