The Showstoppers' Family Matinees

Showstoppers have been improvising musicals for several years now and an edited version has had a series on BBC Radio 4. This is the kiddies’ version, albeit with the familiar ingredients. The audience get to choose a location. Someone called out The Wizard of Oz, immediately seized on as a Fantasy Kingdom. The heroine was Gabrielle, the name of a cute tot in Row Seven noted for her loving nature, prettiness and energy (her mother said). We were asked for genres to parody – Wicked, The Lion King and Grease were all cues for song styles. And the characters in the Kingdom were dragons. There were more prompts later, but that gave the basic framework for a tale of a little girl visiting the dragon kingdom and going on a quest to become the ruler. When she does, she sets the dragons free, but they decide they want to serve humans anyway. Quite enough for an hour long show.

Maybe it was the restriction imposed by a family audience which inhibited the improvisers, and they need scope for innuendo and smut to come alive. Nobody could expect Instant Sondheim under the circumstances, but I expected something altogether sharper and wittier, and a bit more charisma on stage.

Reviews by Peter Scott-Presland

Charing Cross Theatre

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★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

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Rosemary Branch Theatre

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★★★
Southwark Playhouse

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★★★★

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The Blurb

Special new family-friendly shows from these brilliant musical comedy improvisers, as heard on BBC Radio 4. 'A blast. Makes your jaw drop in impressed amazement and your ribs ache with laughter'. ***** (Mail on Sunday).

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