Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – Bord Gais Energy Theatre – Review
9 May 2019 – 11 May 2019
A phone rings at the side of the stage. It is answered by the narrator/ director for the evening, Sean McCann. The call is from a musical producer from the West End. He needs a new musical and he needs it now! In the next two hours, the cast of Showstoppers, along with the help of the audience, will create a musical before our eyes.
The story of Showstoppers is quite a heartwarming one. They started 11 years ago with the concept of an improvised musical and from this initial idea, it has now been performed over a thousand times and had two West End runs. The show won an Olivier award in 2016 and was converted into a BBC Radio 4 series.
The director takes suggestions on a location and several styles of musicals direct from the audience. The ones that are greeted with the loudest cheers are then taken by the cast and transformed into an all singing spectacular before your eyes. Last night in the Bord Gais, we were on board the S.S. Titanium as it went into the Bermuda Triangle. Captain Crackin has never been the same since he lost his wife Sarah several years earlier. This will be his first time back into the mysterious region since his wife fell overboard, but could she still be alive? Only those that were in the Bord Gais last night will ever know the secrets of this never to be repeated tale!
It takes a strange blend of bravery and stupidity to stand in front of a large audience without a script! One of the more unusual aspects is that, while the cast are extremely inventive, some of the funnier moments are when things go wrong for them! They are living off their wits and each night is a unique experience.
There are four musicians at the side of the stage, with drums, piano and a variety of wind instruments. The songs lift off in different styles, depending on what the audience has suggested and it’s clear that neither the musicians nor the cast members are sure what direction the song will go in!
The show is based on improvised comedy routines. The cast make decisions on the direction of the plot and run with them, so the story naturally twists and turns. The songs are suitably epic and are performed with verve. Last night, the main song of the evening was ‘A Man Is Just A Boy Whose Balls Have Dropped’, so you know what to expect! They’re a highly talented crew and it would be hard not to enjoy this genuine oddity.