Words by Simon Button
The other night I saw a brand new, very funny, wildly inventive musical comedy.
It was set in a Cornish allotment, which wasn’t too promising, and the title, A Lotta Dancin’, needed a rethink.
But it was niftily paced, brilliantly performed and its score paid homage to the likes of Rent, Wicked and even 42nd Street as we were plunged into a plot about love and rivalry, tradition versus progress, the satiating beauty of good old Cornish pasties and whether flowers have any place amongst marrows and legumes.
“Sounds fab!” I hear you cry. “I’m gonna book tickets now.” Except you can’t. A Lotta Dancin’ was a one-off, never-to-be-performed-again sensation that opened and closed on the same night.
Why? Because it was under the Showstopper! The Improvised Musical umbrella and the clue is in the title: They make it up as they go along, fielding suggestions of setting, plot points and musical styles from audience shout-outs and interval tweets, which makes for anything-goes hilarity as the cast and musicians are hurled in at the deep end.
And what a talented bunch they are. I’m guessing they have a roster of musical pastiches up their sleeve and a few plot basics to draw on, and master of ceremonies Dylan Emery judiciously sieves through trickier ideas (like my suggestion they set in in an abattoir!).
But they seem game for anything. We got pasty crones channeling Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques, a Kiwi fitness instructor with same-sex cravings, a bit of tap dancing and a brilliant mickey-take of Once.
What you’ll end seeing is anyone’s guess!
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is at The Other Place until March 16. For great deals on tickets and shows click here.