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Showstoppers- musical review

Continuing to show their impeccably crafted art form to plenty more audiences, the Showstoppers team are flitting between being on the road and back in their London residency at the Cambridge Theatre on Mondays, with an upcoming Edinburgh Fringe stint pending too - keeping busy and offering plenty of opportunity to catch them! At the forefront of improvisational mastery, a brand new musical is created before your eyes as audience suggestions for title, setting and score inspiration are woven into an original script like magic.

This remarkable feat begins with the coordinator (Sean McCann) asking for only the very best ideas to formulate the production. There is no need to fear if participation is not your forte: you will only get picked if appearing eager, and there is often an abundance of other keen volunteers. In only a matter of minutes, the cast of six align to start work on the fresh theatrics and appear remarkably skilful in their endeavours. Freshers Week with a hint of Wimbledon was voted in on this occasion, featuring inspiration from Cabaret to Mamma Mia, with a dash of Sweeney Todd among others, with Ruth Bratt, Susan Harrison, Ali James, Adam Meggido, Ethan Pascal Peters and Andrew Pugsley taking to the stage - subject to change as the team alternates, but all incredible at what they do.

Despite the fairly generic black and red costumes and minimal props being utilised, this allows creativity to flow, moulding the show wherever it's destined. Quick-witted genius minds are presented as the ability of the cast to interpret each other, listen and regard their notions to collaboratively build on this, amazingly keeping track of the character developments throughout; even referring to earlier mentions to add to the solidity of the piece. It is incredibly slick, professional and fluid, even while formed on the spot and fuelled by ample ounces of humour.

As suggested during the interval, a further understanding of the pub name origin - already a running joke in the show - was ordered in the style of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, thus  'Hope and Anchor, Dog and Duck and Crown and Flag and Things' kicks off Act 2 in the most appropriate way. Another late edition was a song paying homage to Wicked: scarf flapping included. In all, the exaggerated characterisation made for both a funny and engaging overarching plot, as well as the interactions between them, with many (many) mentions of France, several near-death gluten intolerance experiences, lots of mixed-up lovers, a stint of drug addiction and yet still some meaningful quips about finding your true self at University. Although the show miraculously seeks a neat ending to conclude within the 2-hour (interval included) time frame, you just can't get enough of the comedic artistry that so seamlessly displays improvisation with this cast at the top of their game.

Showstoppers is the perfect show to see again and again: with something different to see each time, you will never cease to be amazed at how they do it.


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