Sunday, 24 January 2016

Theatre Review: The Showstoppers, Oxford Playhouse 23 January 2016

Image copyright The Showstoppers

On Friday 23 January 2016 I saw The Showstoppers at the Playhouse in Oxford with a good friend of mine.

The Showstopper musical works by having a group of improvisation experts on stage. The first character we meet is a "writer" who introduces the show and how it works, and gets involved throughout the show by stopping everything that is happening on stage and injecting new ideas and challenges for the actors. The whole show is based on audience ideas which are then voted on by the audience. In the first half this was done by the well-tested hands in the air method, and in the second half, ideas were gathered by Tweeting suggestions during the interval.

Image copyright The Showstoppers
I am a massive fan of musicals and although I have been to the theatre hundreds of times I have never seen anything like this before. I have also never grinned my way through an entire show before, at the sheer brilliance of the whole thing. Styles were taken from several different musicals and a couple of my all time favourites were chosen... during the songs done in the style of Blood Brothers and Les Mis, I was literally crying with laughter at some of the details the improvisers added... the performers and musicians were so talented and quick to develop the show as it went along. It was unbelievable to watch to be honest.

How they harmonise, how they bounce ideas off each other instantly and know when to take over singing, how the musicians can tell where the song is going to go, is a mystery. I can only imagine it takes a lot of skill and hours of practice to work like this so effectively, but this is a show I would recommend to anyone who loves musicals or improv, not that you will see the same show I saw, Stiff!!!, as the show is different every time, and the Showstopper Squad is huge so no doubt there would be different performers involved as well.

In case you're wondering, Stiff!!! was a musical comedy set in an undertakers! I wonder what they will do next time!

If you want to enjoy this incredible experience yourself, head over to the Showstoppers website and you can find out where they are appearing in the upcoming shows tab. I am 100% definitely going to try and get to another show by this amazingly talented team.

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