The Showstoppers’ Kids Show is a variation for 3-10 year-olds of the long-running improvisational musical show by the same name. Four singers, a keyboardist and percussionist build a musical on the fly, based on suggestions from kids in the audience calling out locations, characters, and parts of the action.
The show gets underway as soon as we’re let into the theatre with the four singers in colourful dungarees singing us with jolly gusto to our seats. The cast then explain in very straightforward terms how the show will proceed and begin to build the story.
I’m sure today’s early choices all from young audience members were familiar to the on-stage team. The scene was Hogwarts (must have read the Fringe brochure blurb), the main characters were Superman and - a little confusingly - an invisible Superman who drank an invisibility potion to steal all the cakes from the Hogwarts kitchen.
The show was not as quick-fire as I expected to begin with, perhaps due to it being a smaller, quieter audience, but the interaction increased as the story progressed and the kids grew more emboldened.
When the more enthusiastic kids from the audience were asked to come up and complete lyrics to a song between two characters, a succession of four different children came up with a chorus involving punching, kicking, stabbing and then eating a child. The Showstoppers team didn’t miss a beat, leading the audience of sniggering kids and adults in a jolly, uptempo singalong complete with brutal actions.
You’ll be glad to hear that later in the story, a clever twist in the plot was introduced, where magic was used to go back in time and replace all the violence of before with peaceful actions.
To get the most out of this show, it probably helps if you have a child who enjoys participation and musicals. The cast worked enthusiastically to connect with their young audience, but younger kids may not appreciate the subtleties of sung action. The most excitable moments were when kids were asked to point out the invisible superman as he dashed up and down the theatre, clambering over the seats, and when props (cardboard box, 'pow' signs) came out for a superhero battle scene.
The small troupe demonstrate great creativity in piecing together a complete show rounded off with a positive message at the end of it, even if one or two kids were beyond reach.
Til 19th, 11am.