Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Some shows are Fringe standards, you can’t help but think that they’re like the ravens at the Tower of London; that if they weren’t here, everything would come tumbling down. Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is one such constant of this chaotic festival. With 12 years of sell-out runs under their sparkly belts and an impressive résumé of West End successes, you’d imagine that they would rest on their well-deserved laurels. Yet here they are, still performing improvised musicals night after night. Has it gotten old? Have they milked the genre for all it’s worth? Not a chance!

Very likely the funniest improv on the Fringe

The format is simple, co-creator of Showstopper!, Dylan Emery appears on stage as a musical theatre writer taking a call from a West End Producer and he’s got 70 minutes to write a brand new hit. Luckily, he has a spectacularly talented cast of improvisers and a small focus group of 750 audience members to assist. After explaining the concept of improv (for those who’ve missed the last 20+ years of comedy) and taking a selection of audience suggestions, we’re treated to Rap-A-Touille, a musical set in the high energy world of a restaurant kitchen haunted by the ghost of Gordon Ramsey. Adam Meggido performs the powerful opener, Get Out of the Kitchen but is quickly joined by the rest of the cast. I’m suddenly introduced to a concept that I hadn’t anticipated in an improvised musical – improvised choreography! To see the rest of the cast working together to create a dance routine worthy of the West End stage is delightfully silly.

The audience-suggested musical genres for this brand-new hit are an eclectic range that encompasses the tight rap of Hamilton, the lyrical genius of Into the Woods, and avoiding the inherent racism of The Mikado. There’s also an excellent Grease tribute Chip Pan on Fire in honour of Olivia Newton-John who had passed away earlier that day. It’s hard to pick out any highlights in a show that’s close to perfection from start to finish but my particular favourite is Andrew Pugsley’s restaurant critic, Donnie Brasco, who enters the stage to the pompous and brilliant Behold the Food Critic as he hams up a Gilbert & Sullivan caricature that manages to be even more ridiculous than anything served up by a Victorian operetta.

The musical is hilarious, high-energy, even genuinely touching in places, and the cast are clearly having as much fun as the audience. You don’t need to be a musical theatre afficionado to enjoy the gags although knowing your musicals does add to the excitement of hearing an entire genre parodied. I’ve seen a lot of improv in my time but this is the first one I’ve ever seen get a standing ovation from a sell-out crowd. Don’t miss this excellent troupe performing what is very likely the funniest improv on the Fringe.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Frodo Allan

Summerhall

The Chosen Haram

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Hot Clown Sex

★★★
Gilded Balloon at the Museum

Attenborough and His Animals

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Mat Ricardo: The Extraordinary Gentleman

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The must-see, Olivier Award-winning West End hit returns for its 13th year! Watch the masters of musical improv create a brand-new musical comedy from scratch at every performance of this multi award-winning show. Audience suggestions are transformed into an all-singing, all-dancing show with hilarious results. A Fringe favourite, sell-out phenomenon; your Edinburgh experience is simply incomplete without it! 'The top musical improvisers in the business... Compulsory Fringe viewing... Just book in time' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Achingly funny... Worth seeing again and again' ***** (Time Out). 'Had me weeping with laughter' ***** (Mail on Sunday).

Most Popular See More

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets