Showstopper!: The Improvised Musical, Pleasance Courtyard, Review

Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Showstoppers/Something For The Weekend
Keith Strachan (Producer) Dylan Emery (Producer/Director) Adam Meggido (Producer/Director)Damian Robertson (Lighting Improviser) Simon Scullion (Set Design) Tom Lishman (Sound Design) Gabriella Slade (Costume and props Design)
Ruth Bratt, Justin Brett, Dylan Emery, Pippa Evans, Susan Harrison, Ali James, Sean McCann, Adam Meggido, Phillip Pelleu, Andrew Pugsley, Lauren Shearing, Lucy Trodd, Heather Urquhart, Duncan Walsh Atkins, Chris Ash, Alex Atty, Craig Apps, Pete Furniss, Nathan Gregory, Yshani Perinpanayagam, Tom Pickles
Running time

A request from the producer and an audience of musical experts – what could possibly go wrong?

The Showstoppers is one of the most well-loved improvised shows on the Fringe, and it’s easy to see why. Every performance they produce is absolute world class, and the fact that they make it up on the spot from audience suggestions makes the whole show utterly delightful.

When the audience arrive the stage is set with the lights, band and set already in place, with a rather ominous red telephone. As the performance begins, the phone rings; their producer has asked for a new musical, and they have sixty five minutes to create one.

Of course, the suggestions come from the audience. First, the setting: The Olympic games, the American Elections, Brexit – or Noah’s Ark. Anything goes! Then come the genre. The musical must involve songs in the style of selected musical composers; ours were Rogers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan, Sondheim, Flamenco guitar and the new rap musical sweeping America, Hamilton.

Finally, the name. Then they’re off!

Not only does the musical have a perfect overarching plot, not only are they improvising their lyrics while singing completely new songs, not only are they working as a seamless company to deliver an ensemble musical – but they absolutely nail every musical style.

There are hilarities which come with an improvised show, stray lines, non-sequiturs, and corpsing when the cast drop a particularly juicy suggestion for the next song. Hats off to performer Ruth Bratt for managing to include the name of the musical in one song, and for a sing along number to finish the show. The talent and skill involved in each production is staggering.

What you’re in for is a show that will make your whole week better. Whether you enjoy musicals or not, this is a must-see at the Edinburgh fringe; a classic, ingenious, uplifting performance that will have you dancing out of the door, then back in again the next day.

Times: 6–28 August, 6pm, 9.50pm
Tickets: £13-£16.50 (£11-£14.50)