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Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Produced by Keith Strachan, Adam Meggido and Dylan Emery

Show works and Something for the Weekend productions

Theatr Clwyd

March 23-25, 2 hrs

Should I give a synopsis of the plot knowing that this musical could be entirely different tomorrow? Welcome to the world of audience-suggested improvisation. It's a great concept: start each play with a series of suggestions on what the musical should be about and then get a team of performers to develop a two-hour musical comedy around it. By the reaction of the audience, both in providing ideas and in their appreciation of the musical, the concept works.

The cast – Jonathan Ainscough, Ruth Bratt, Justin Brett, Sean McCann, Philip Pellow and Ethan Pascal Peters are great, on stage most of the play and bouncing off each other to good effect, ably supported by a pianist and drummer. They take delight in landing each other in tight spots: one actor had to improvise being a 16-year-old girl despite being a middle-aged man. The evening is non-stop fun.

Of course, the material the cast has to work with is only as good as the suggestions from the audience. People were suitably imaginative, lending at times a dose of surrealism. One performer had to transform, in Act Two, into a soap dish...

The play is almost certainly not completely original every night; the cast has a store of ideas and a framework for the action and strives to fit each audience suggestion into it. Even this requires creativity, teamwork and no small amount of general knowledge. This is as much an exercise in parody and farce as it is improvisation, and it is achieved with great skill and humour.

It has been said before that there are only seven stories, and all others are adaptations. In this case, the theme was a love story, the suggestions from the audience being then hung upon it A philosophical and unexpected point was made as a consequence: that a loving relationship cannot be forced, but has to be consensual. Oddly serious in such a show, but perhaps fitting nonetheless.

The cast suggests that the audience come again the following night, and why not, the play will be different.

By the strength of the standing ovation received, many might well do this. It's a warm, funny production that leaves people feeling good. What more can we ask?

Tickets and information here


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