23-24 September 2016
Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
A musical set in a morgue isn’t at the top of my “must see” list and I certainly wouldn’t normally put the two together… but that is what we found ourselves watching when we visited The Lowry last night. Despite the strange combination it was the funniest musical I have ever seen and the best night out that we have had in ages. We never stopped laughing all evening, the show is full of hilarious songs and one liners and really has to be seen to be believed.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical differs from a normal musical in that it is created from scratch at each performance making each and every show unique. The audience select the theme and musical style at various points throughout the night and the cast improvise with unpredictable and frequently hilarious results.
When asked for themes for the musical the audience at The Lowry quickly came up with suggestions of Buckingham Palace, a soap opera, Old Trafford and a mortuary. When put to the vote the mortuary won. At this point we had no idea how the show would evolve and what we had let ourselves in for but from the minute the cast appeared we were hooked. The audience were also asked for styles of music and we had suggestions of Gilbert & Sullivan as well as Sondheim which both featured in the musical.
With a cast of 7, plus the highly talented musicians, the musical quickly took shape. The set was very simple as it needs to be given that the theme is only decided on the night but the simplicity worked well and you just needed imagination to set the scene. Based around three sisters who were undertakers in WW1 the musical was titled by a member of the audience “I Sing Dead People.” We were really impressed at the talent of the cast, it can’t be easy improvising a whole show but they did it effortlessly. Yes, there were a few slip ups, the M25 hadn’t been built, let alone thought of when WW1 was happening but they quickly turned this into a joke which added to the fun of the night. The songs were fantastic including “Keep Your Dreams in Your Spleen” and “Stop Being a Dick” with lively lyrics that were unbelievably funny.
During the interval the audience were invited to tweet their suggestions for the second half and again the cast used these ideas in the musical. We had a Rocky Horror style song and another in the style of Billy Elliott, complete with ballet moves!
Essential to any musical is of course the music! Yshani Perinpanayagam and Craig Apps were extremely talented and seamlessly changed from one style of music to another, keeping the night flowing.
This was a fantastic night out, we really recommend that you catch them at one of the dates on their tour. We can guarantee that the show will be completely different from any musical you have ever seen and will be a total one off. We can’t wait to see them again next time they are in Manchester.
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is currently on tour around the UK, for more information visit www.theshowstoppers.org.
For other shows at The Lowry visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000