Showstopper!, Leicester Square Theatre, London

3.00

Little Briton with a large talent

Matt Lucas is partly responsible for some of the most visceral and grotesque humour in British comedy. So it was both intriguing and refreshing to see him in an altogether more ponderous, and sometimes bashful mood, for his guest role in this improvised musical.

Sporting a dark velveteen suit with what looked like a 1960s-style red Arsenal shirt underneath, Lucas (a known Gunners fan) was vaguely in line with the black and red costumes of the cast. Though he was all dressed up and ready for action, the Little Britain star was principally employed as sidekick to writer/director Dylan Emery, whose charisma and passing resemblance to Rowan Atkinson are both noteworthy.

The show's scenario is that Emery has just one night to create a new musical. What follows vacillates between the ensemble doing his and Lucas's bidding as they up the improv ante.

Suggestions from the audience are also used to create the musical "From Dust 'til Dawn", a tale of love, celibacy and betrayal through the eyes of the employees of a Mexican oyster bar, which journeys through a range of musical stylings, from Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Disney composer Alan Menken, to Sesame Street.

When the cast settle on the dust theme of the musical as relating to cocaine smuggling, Emery asks the characters to think of five euphemisms for the drug. "Venezuelan Tate & Lyle" one of them comes back. Meanwhile, wearing an impish smile, Lucas names two characters Hannah and Steve but dryly requests that the former be a man and the latter a woman, adding supportively: "it's just like Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly."

Lucas's suggestion morphs into a so-so number about the differences between being a boy and a girl. It's a tune that would not look that out of place in Avenue Q and, while there are better songs, for example a Disney-style duet called "Two Birds", Showstopper! does approach a product that, as co-creator Adam Meggido (playing the hero Pedro tonight) has said, "could sit alongside anything in the West End." Fortunately for the cast, this achievement says more about their talents than it does about the formulaic and trite musicals going on around them.

Meanwhile, just as it was starting to look like Lucas would never be able to demonstrate his own performance dexterity, Emery casts him as Pedro's Yorkshireman brother, thus providing a late twist in the tale. Visibly reluctant, Lucas assumes his role as Balthazar Jones, here to inform Pedro that his real name is Barry and that he should come back home to his mum.

Lucas is asked to sing for his supper too, but it's a short refrain. Nonetheless, his presence during this enjoyable romp has provided both entertainment and a unique snapshot of the depth and duality of his comic persona.

To 30 July ( www.showstopperthemusical.com )

Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
books
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'