The Bean Spillers: The Improvised Musical

High energy, fun and witty, The Bean Spillers’ Improvised Musical showcases a wide range of talent, musical knowledge and general mischief. Whilst the initial impression of the show could only be described as ‘student improv starter pack’, the saying ‘don't judge a book by its cover’ has never been more apt.

Practically indescribable but thoroughly enjoyable and hilarious to watch

The show breaks musical theatre into its most basic components but takes those components as far as they can go. The trio of Sam Cochrane, Alex Prescot and Charlie Russell put on a sophisticated musical full of twists, turns and a sub-plot simply from a tabloid headline length story pulled from the audience, with a rather wholesome conclusion despite the initial piece of gossip that influenced it. When the cast is in blacks, the set is two folding chairs and a hat rack filled with hats, everything that the actors do onstage has to be exceptional in order to keep the audience engaged. The three actors hit exceptional within the first 15 minutes and from there moved right onto comedic genius.

The characters migrated among the trio at various points, but each actor managed to realistically develop and add depth to each character they adopted that was consistent with and built on what the previous actor had initiated. As far as improvised theatre goes, this production contained all the high points of a fully improvised show with none of the lows. Full of the occasional commentary about the plot, running jokes and sudden changes in atmosphere, the cast managed to continually engage the audience, at times laughing with them at the decisions that were made onstage. It was practically indescribable but thoroughly enjoyable and hilarious to watch.

Jaunty seems to be the best word to encapsulate the feeling of most of the songs in the show. Whilst there was some stylistic differentiation, most of the songs can only be described as your generic ‘uplifting musical theatre song’. The lyrics were full of odd rhymes that generated even odder plot points, all fully embraced in the name of comedy. There was a clear partnership between the cast and the pianist – Tom Hodge – with the two parts coming seamlessly together to produce an overall high-quality performance. The songs were surprisingly catchy considering the mere seconds the cast had to think of them and did more to drive the musical’s plot forward than some well-established musical theatre songs. The songs contributed to a very high – if not professional – standard musical, to the point where it might as well have been a production that was being workshopped for the West End. Remember that everything that occurred onstage was completely due to the incredibly fast, in-the-moment decisions made by the cast and whilst this is the definition of an improvised musical, it was amazing to witness the process first-hand.

Busking is never easy, especially in a show as unpredictable as this one. The lighting by Julia Miller-Bakewell managed to intensify and change the mood completely as the show demanded, utilising every part of the rather basic rig that the venue had to its full potential, which added to the overall experience and complimented the action onstage perfectly.

If you wish to see a show that will make you physically shake with laughter, that has the same level of professionalism, plot, and music as your typical West End show but without the nose-bleed prices, then look no further than The Bean Spillers' Improvised Musical. Improv is always a risk, but with this show, enjoyment is guaranteed. If this is what The Bean Spillers can do with just their natural talent and the skin of their teeth, then it’s not hard to imagine what they can achieve when they prepare and write the musical beforehand.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

Leicester Square Theatre

Rhys Nicholson - Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!

★★★★★
The Bridge House Theatre

Everybody Wants To Rule The World

The Playground Theatre

Rehab: The Musical

★★★★
Soho Theatre

Javelin

★★★★★
Charing Cross Theatre

Ride

★★★★
Apollo Theatre

Cruise

★★★★★

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

Farting at a funeral. Calling your teacher ‘Mum’. Farting at your teacher’s funeral then calling the Vicar ‘Mum’! We’ve all heard some juicy gossip, but have you ever wondered if there’s more to the story? Following the success of their ★★★★★ hit ‘Timpson: The Musical’, Gigglemug Theatre (Winners of The Stage Edinburgh Award) present a brand-new improvised musical based on gossip from the audience.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets