Review of the Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (2015)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It was truly an evening of delightful entertainment, with top-class humour and creativity that made the whole audience laugh throughout the 2-hour show last night. The Showstoppers, made up of UK's funniest comedians, delivered what they promised - incredible, moving story-lines, amazing songs, full group harmonies, dance numbers and very funny to watch. All with just 6 performers, two musicians (a percussionist and a keyboardist) and simple props. 

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Our show started with Sean McCann (as the narrator) who received a phone call, requesting him to come up with a brand new musical idea within two hours. He started asking the audience for creative suggestions for the setting of the musical. In a bomb shelter, London Zoo and the Sahara Desert were among the few choices, but the audience's favourite was a musical set in the hawker centre. That suggestion earned the most resounding applause of affirmation. The funny thing was, Sean McCann had no idea what a hawker centre is. 

He went on to ask for suggestions as a title for the musical. "Ang Moh in Ang Mo Kio" was the popular choice over "Phantom of the Hawker Centre". By then, we were already laughing so much at how Sean McCann tried to make meaning of all the words he never knew. Fortunately for him, a Caucasian lady in the audience helped. 

And with that, the musical opened with a song about a hawker centre in Ang Mo Kio area. We were introduced to the various characters of the story. Kathy, a married lady with red hair (Ang Moh) who sold chicken rice at a hawker centre, was made to kill her husband under the instructions of Louis (well, actually the audience asked for this). Louis was the in-charge of the hawker centre and had a liking for Kathy. Kathy's co-worker also liked her and asked her out for a drink. The story got more bizarre when she confessed that she "had to kill her husband so that she could go for a drink with him". He then exclaimed "What will you do for a second date?!".

After Kathy presented her husband's heart to Louis, Louis realised that Kathy wasn't interested in him. He banished her from the hawker centre... hawker arena... whatever. The Ang Mohs couldn't decide.

Kathy and her co-worker were then given a pair of tickets to the Singapore Zoo and they decided to have their first date there. McCann stopped the show with a request for one of the cast to mimic the actions of a panda, a flamingo and a hippo during the musical number. Adam Meggido, who holds a world record in longform impro (55 hours in Toronto), did it stunningly and I absolutely love his lazy pose of a Panda eating leaves. 

Simply Lambchops reviews Showstopper! The Improvised Musical
Looking forward to an evening of  entertainment!

Among the many numbers they sang, the ones that I enjoyed most were the ones reminiscent of The Phantom of the Opera, and A Chorus Line - probably so as I couldn't recognise the others. Imagine the scene of the Phantom of the Opera song, but instead of Christine and the Phantom, we had a masked Orang Utan and Kathy singing the duet in the Orang Utan enclosure. The performers sang and danced to every number, and improvised the lyrics based on the suggestions given at the start of the show. Not to mention, the two musicians livened the mood of each song with their amazing musical skills. The audience clapped and cheered loudly after each musical number. 

There were many other creative moments worth highlighting. I love that a simple prop like the umbrella can become a shotgun for Louis and his henchman, and the amused look on Kathy's face when her co-worker saw her picking ticks from a fellow Orang Utan and eating them. 

With a story so bizarre, what happened to the Ang Moh in the end? Kathy took charge of the Orang Utan clan in the Singapore Zoo and grew more (red) hair. Together with her animal friends, they managed to thwart Louis' plan to kill the Orang Utans for their meat. 

It's amazing to see how the performers create a brand new performance each night, solely based on the suggestions of the audience and not a prepared script. They were also able to change their act or song instantly when the narrator asked for a hilarious plot twist. The coordinated singing and dancing were impressive too. 

Now I can't wait to see what wacky story line the cast will conjure up for the kids at The Fantastical Story Factory! 

More info about the Showstopper! The Improvised Musical:

Show times: 28th April - 3rd May (7:45 pm, except for 3rd May which is at 7 pm)
Venue: School of the Arts (SOTA) Drama Theatre
Price: $98, $78, $58 (tickets can be purchased here)

Disclosure: I won a set of tickets to the opening show from a Facebook giveaway by ABA Productions. No monetary compensation was given and all opinions are ours. 

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  1. That sounds hilarious! We will be going for The Fantastical Story Factory too. See you there!


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