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Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at the Apollo theatre

Published 1 October 2015

What’s it all about?

Err… well… this is awkward. We don’t really know…

Not because we weren’t paying attention but because from now until the end of November you could see quite literally anything at the Apollo Theatre.

Whatever happens – and, really, this could be anything from a space-set spectacular to a Cereal Café thriller judging by last night’s suggestions – a well-known West End producer is on the phone to The Showstoppers every night requesting a new sure-fire hit. And it’s up to the audience to help them make it!

Press night attendees were treated to the world premiere of The Lyin’ King. Simba and the Serengeti Plains were nowhere to be seen; instead this musical, which featured a score inspired by everything from The Book Of Mormon to Gypsy Kings, was set in the Daily Mail offices and followed the story of Lydia, the paper’s intern, as she rose through the ranks with two very different boyfriends in tow.

Of course, being an improvised musical created from audience suggestions, the plot line wasn’t that simple, with scenes at the previously discarded setting, the Cereal Café, infertile-turned-pregnant corgis and a tea-maker’s big secret also playing a part in the story.

Who’s in it?

Seven of the 12-strong Showstopping team take to the stage alongside a trio of on-stage musicians for each performance of this improvised show. On press night, Pippa Evans transformed hilariously from naïve newspaper newbie to a boss with bad intentions in the role of Lydia, Justin Brett was both an amusingly ‘street’ rapper and a pedantic sub-editor, and Ruth Bratt brought more than her fair share of humour as a power-loving Editor-in-Chief.

They were joined by Sarah-Louise Young, who excelled as an underappreciated tea lady, Andrew Pugsley as an amusing love-sick newspaper geek, Adam Meggido, who can add Shakespearean rapper to his list of talents, and Dylan Emery, who kept the night on track with all the skills of a stand-up comedian.

What should I look out for?

The moments of such hilariously random improvisation that even the performers can’t keep a straight face.

In a nutshell?

Forget spectacular British bakes, this autumn is all about the theatrical Showstoppers, who bring a whole new level of hilarious to the West End with their unique combination of stand-up comedy and musical ingenuity.

Who was in the press night crowd?

What seemed like the entire original cast of The Play That Goes Wrong tried to gatecrash the second act with a plethora of suggestions, from a Bard-based rap to a Corgi-inspired Cats number with an altogether more canine-centric title.

While some ideas were turned into all-singing, all-dancing musical numbers, Angela Griffin’s brainwave to make the office explode in the style of Grease was refused on the grounds of its story-ending potential as a second act opener.

What’s being said on Twitter?

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Will I like it?

We’d imagine most musical theatre fans base their theatregoing decisions on a musical’s storyline and style of music. Here, that isn’t possible, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to trust us when we say that you will 100% love this show. Offering theatrical innovation at its freshest and most hilarious, the company of The Showstoppers is a guaranteed great night out!


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is playing at the Apollo Theatre until 29 November. You can book tickets through us.

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