Reviewing a fully improvised show is a challenge as the experience that over 600 people enjoyed at the Playhouse on Friday night will be significantly different to any other evening on which they are performing.
As with the successful TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, there are tricks and techniques that improv performers use as part of their shows - but the trick is not to let the audiences see the joins. With Showstopper!: The Improvised Musical, there are no joins to be seen. It is a thoroughly entertaining and professional night in the theatre - for lovers of comedy and musical theatre alike.
Building on suggestions from the audience, the team of two musicians, one compere and five performers created a musical entitled 'The Hells are Alive' - the story of two demons competing to collect souls from Oxford. The songs were inspired by Annie, the works of Sondheim, La Boheme and The Sound of Music - with the additional of some hip-hop in the second act!
Using a bare bones set of two sets of steps and four movable flats, the story zipped along with some clever word play and witty musical pastiches. Yes, some songs and scenes worked better than others, but there were far more hits than misses.
There is a large pool of performers who make up the wider Showstopper! family and I am certain that whoever you get to see will match the Oxford group. They all have a way of making the audience feel confident that they know what they are doing - even when flying by the seat of their pants!
I can thoroughly recommend Showstopper! - whenever you get the opportunity to see them, I am certain that you will be thoroughly entertained.