REVIEW: Improvisation to music

PUBLISHED: 14:09 10 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 07 September 2010

Showstopper! King s Head Theatre Four stars Showstopper! makes you feel good. It s interactive, funny, and you can t take your eyes off the stage. If you can remember Whose Line is it Anyway? you ve got it, except that this builds itself into an hour-l

Showstopper!

King's Head Theatre

Four stars

Showstopper! makes you feel good. It's interactive, funny, and you can't take your eyes off the stage. If you can remember "Whose Line is it Anyway?" you've got it, except that this builds itself into an hour-long musical.

Huddled by the stage, a bunch of talented actor/singers wait to spring into action and respond to whatever's thrown at them. In the opposite corner sits the director, notebook in hand.

It's this witnessing of theatre unfolding before your eyes, the chattering audience like one round a boxing ring that gives it the edge. The King's Head is the perfect venue - casual and cramped, home of alternative dinner theatre.

A myriad of musical styles established, we're into the first scene of Liars Die Too, with a well-drilled chorus and a cracking opening number that would put Lloyd Webber in the shade.

It's no mean feat to keep the energy, imagination and discipline this sharp for an hour and the show suffers from self-referencing, bits of corpsing and moments of near collapse.

No matter, the audience is with it all the way, as are the excellent musicians, and director Dylan Emery interjects to cue tableaux, numbers and lights, improvising as much as the cast and just as watchable.

There are some witty, well pitched exchanges by Ruth Bratt, but co-creator Adam Meggido carries the show with his sheer commitment to character - and for my money, the cast would do well to follow his lead more faithfully.

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