Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Theatre, Musicals
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(12user reviews)
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisDylan Emery
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisAdam Meggido, Justin Brett and Andrew Pugsley
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisAndrew Pugsley, Adam Meggido, Justin Brett and Lucy Trodd
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisAndrew Pugsley, Lucy Trodd, Ruth Bratt, Phillip Pellew and Justin Brett
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisDylan Emery
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisDylan Emery, Justin Brett, Ruth Bratt, Andrew Pugsley, Lucy Trodd, Adam Meggido and Philip Pellew
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisPhilip Pellew, Andrew Pugsley, Justin Brett, Ruth Bratt, Lucy Trodd and Adam Meggido
 (© Geraint Lewis)
© Geraint LewisSarah-Louise Young, Andrew Pugsley, Susan Harrison and Pippa Evans

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This crowd-pleasing improv juggernaut finally makes it to the West End

'Showstopper!" will transfer to the Lyric Theatre for a series of 10 Monday performances between February and July in 2016. This review is of the 2015 run.

I’ve always thought of improv as a thing Americans are into in lieu of actual comedy. But the heartwarming success story that is Adam Meggido and Dylan Emery’s ‘Showstopper! The Improvised Musical’ is as British as an argument over how to pronounce the word ‘scone’.

Partly that’s to do with show’s current framing device, whereby the avuncular Emery very reservedly takes audience suggestions on what sort of musical his crack troops are going to whip up that evening (politely batting away the less, er, family-friendly ideas).

But I think the greatest thing about ‘Showstopper!’ –which arrives at the West End after eight years of cult success – is that at heart it’s a bit crap…  and that’s the fun of it. At the performance I attended, the phenomenally skilled performers on stage knocked up a musical about Northern Irish fairies (‘Puck Off!’). In many ways, it was atrocious, incoherent nonsense. But that’s what’s so funny, really, watching them muddle through the ludicrous task set for them, occasionally absolutely flooring you with a song pastiche so perfect it’s no wonder the programme has a section devoted to conspiracy theories about it all being a set-up.  The cast gamely knocked out a ‘Stomp’ style number (which they’d be well within their rights to have refused, ‘Stomp’ not even being a musical), a Gilbert & Sullivan patter song and a very funny ‘Les Mis’ parody and it all feels gloriously precarious and fresh.

At two hours long, it does have a tendency to bog down in plot cul-de-sacs that might have been avoided by a shorter show, and it’s probably a given that it’s laden with gags that only musical theatre nerds will get. But it is, above all, a tremendously good time, and when it clicks, it’s absolutely magical.

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
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'The Showstoppers' is one of my favourite London shows, ever.

It's an improv show which means everything is made up on the spot. Yep, everything. That means no scripts or pre-rehearsals. The idea for the show is drawn entirely from the audience to the style of any musical we mention.

It's a one-of-a-kind type of show. The improv nature of it all means you can watch them more than once and each time, the show will be different every time. 

The first show I watched took me to a monastery set in the West Country in the style of Jersey Boys. My second show took me backstage of the Oscars to the tune of Oliver!

It's roughly 2 hours long including a 15-minute interval. No doubt given the improv nature of it, it is clumsy. But that's the charm of it all and we're meant to laugh at it as we see these ridiculously talented actors come together to create a story on the spot as coherent as possible from the ludicrous suggestions we audience give them. The results are hilarious.

I've never laughed for so long before and I can't recommend The Showstoppers highly enough.

Brilliant! I loved it from the moment it started until the end. Really funny! They are very talented and very creative.

A must see, really. R.


think 'whose line is it anyway' meets theatre. This is one of the funniest nights you will be able to find in London. The audience is invited to participate and to give their inputs as to the genre of the musical and also the scenes, and the actors have to improvise and come up on the spot! Each time is guaranteed to be different! no planted actors in the audiences or any of that nonsense. I have bought 4 different dates already and can't wait to buy more!

Absolutely fantastic show. Ingenious and creative. As an audience member you feel like you're part of the team!

Go and see this!


As someone who freezes when the question 'How're you?" is worded differently, I have a lot of respect for people who can improvise. On stage. And as someone who couldn't hit the right note even if my life depended on it, I was very impressed by this show! It's funny, at times a bit silly, but also very clever in the references it draws. And the best thing is - you can watch it again and again!


A horribly overdue review, of which I hang my head in shame, utterly inexcusable as this production was nothing short of AWESOME and I should’ve been shouting it from every forum possible. They are, however, due to come back later this year so when they do; get down there and witness the improvisational genius that is the cast of Showstopper!

To attempt to explain the performance wouldn’t do it justice, it’s something that needs to be experienced to truly enjoy. Ooh, if you don’t have a Twitter account, set one up before you go! The quality of the musical is also dependent on you as an audience, so be creative/silly and let the hilarity ensue!


I am so pleased I got to see Show stoppers on it's West End run. I have known about this show for years and never got a chance to see it and it really did live up to all the endless 5 star reviews when in Edinburgh Festival and Udderbelly. A whole musical based on audience suggestions,wonderfully funny and ridiculously silly. The cast have  great set of lungs on them and know how to harmonise a treat.

I got a musical titled 'ASDA La Vista' and musical about the staff and their councilor who simultaneously tears apart and brings back together the jaded staff of ASDA Peckham. Loved the river dance section,Rocky Horror section was my fave and big up for reading out my mid show tweets! Brilliant fun

Go and have a giggle and support this comedy troop in their adventure on the big stage.

Showstopper might be the riskiest stage production I've ever seen. Usually for a comedy show of this scale the comedians involved are the draw, and they have set material - most of the audience is already on board. Here, it's the idea that's appealing: a completely unique theatre experience. Improvised comedy, improvised songs, improvised story, never to be repeated. It's remarkable how well it works, and a testament to the talent involved that it's so easy to reccomend. If the show you see is anything like the one I did, it'll be consistently funny, with some of the jokes coming from your very own audience, and extremely memorable despite its thrown-together nature. I'd say it's one for those who love the Play That Goes Wrong, only it's (likely) more re-watchable.


A fab theatre with a beautifully painted ceiling and fairly comfy chairs.

At the moment Showstopper The Improvised Musical is showing and I can't recommend it enough! It is hilarious, funny actors that can sing and the production created the night we went was consistent and clever. Can't wait to go back as it'll be a totally different storey!

The only show in London that is 100% different every day and absolutely brilliant! Did you always dream about directing a play? Do you always think about entertaining ideas? Well in this show you can help direct the play, choose how it will develop and enjoy your own creation with talented artists that will make your make your ideas real in a blink of an eye! I'm already thinking about seeing it again!

A great improvised musical .. They performed the VW factory workers setting


Such a fun night out. I can't believe that the cast managed to improvise 2 hours of show which actually ended up having a story which made sense, even with the twists thrown in with the audience. The great thing about this is whilst many shows are great the first time they aren't as good the 2nd or 3rd time you have to take the visitors somewhere in the west end. This however everytime will be different, the story last night was based in the Daily Mail office and was a power struggle 3 way love triangle. 

Buy tickets and go as soon as you can!

I hope this sticks around for a long time.