The Impromptunes take the first suggestion by the audience and make a musical out of it. And it can be a really silly suggestion. What more to say of it? You won’t be able to see the same thing as I did, unless someone suggests ‘Dancers on Stilts’ again. But it doesn’t matter – the cast has a natural sense of musicality and showmanship that will impress any audience on any day.
An uncanny ability to turn any slip-ups into moments of memorable hilarity
On this occasion, the improvised action begins in a dance academy headed by Goldberg that aims to train the next ‘sexiest dancer the world has ever seen’. After being forced to sing the number I’ve Still Got It by his star pupil Tom, Goldberg dies of a heart attack (and comes back in various avatars throughout the show). From then on, the musical is about Tom trying to win back the favours of his colleagues, and with the help of his new circus friends, he becomes the sexiest dancer in the world as he masters the art of dancing on stilts.
From the outset, the cast demonstrates a great awareness of the genre’s conventions, as they frequently parody generic traits often found in mainstream musicals: trivial rivalries; the damsel in distress; boy gets girl; followed by an impossibly saccharine ending. The actors are eager and nonchalant. They also seem to have an uncanny ability to turn any slip-ups into moments of memorable hilarity. The musical numbers improvised on the spot are also unabashedly clichéd, and they are brilliant because they could not have been more rubbish. Even their dance moves are smooth, with excellent spontaneous choreography to further the plot or underline a point. Some of their singing, however, can be more polished, and more variation in rhyme would be welcome - though it’s somewhat to be expected in an improvised show.
They do leave you wondering how they manage to do it. There are members of the audience who are here for the second or third time – and this is surely a hallmark of something gloriously enjoyable (they can also assure you that the musical is different every single time). If you do decide to spend an afternoon with the Impromptunes, come with a topic and be the first one to shout out a suggestion if you want your own musical made up on the spot. They can be surprisingly good.