As you walk into Pleasance Grand, you’ll notice a board on the left of the stage with five placards on it. On these placards are the name of the musical performed the previous night, along with the four musicals it was inspired by. When I went, the placards read: ‘Sweaty Lycra’, inspired by Grease, The Sound of Music, Chicago and West Side Story. Inevitably, I then wished I’d been there to see that!
Co-creator Dylan Emery soon appears onstage and asks for the audience’s help creating a new musical in 70 minutes. First, we need a setting, and vote on suggestions from the audience. A hen night in Australia wins, and then we need inspirations; for us, Little Shop of Horrors, Kiss Me Kate, Billy Elliott and the absolute classic, Les Misérables. Finally, a title: a genius in the audience suggests ‘The Witches of Oz’, and we’re ready to go.
The incredibly talented cast launch immediately into a catchy opening number, clearly establishing characters and potential storylines in the first few minutes. Taking subtle cues from each other in the practiced way of performers perfectly in sync, they somehow bring to life verses, choruses and even harmonies without ever faltering.
The plot evolves in strange and unexpected ways, much to the delight of the audience, as each actor takes their own initiative, creating a truly unique experience. Accompanied by a phenomenal band, they launch into number after number, each truly and hilariously reminiscent of the musicals chosen as inspirations.
There are, of course, occasional mistakes, and some corpsing, but they only make the whole thing funnier, and it is a truly joyful experience from start to finish. And the best part is, you could go to this show every single day and never see the same thing twice. So what are you waiting for?
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is on at 18:00 at Pleasance Courtyard until August 26th, excluding the 14th. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the EdFringe website.