Matt Lucas will be rejoining one of his old mates from his National Youth Music Theatre days, Adam Meggido, on Thursday [30 April] when he appears in the improvised musical Showstopper! at the Leicester Square Theatre.
Showstopper! takes the established idea of improv, as seen in short form on shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, to its logical conclusion, a full-length musical. The show grows organically with constant re-writes and editing, with a little help from the audience.
Previous guests have included improv veteran Mike McShane and playwright Mark Ravenhill, assuming performing and writing duties respectively. The show's co-producer, NYMT alumnus, Meggido thinks that Lucas's duties will fall somewhere in the middle when he joins the core cast which includes if.comedy newcomer, Pippa Evans.
"I had four years working with [the late] Ken Campbell who made people jump through hoops of fire and then shouted at them when they got burnt," Meggido explains. "The idea is to raise the bar as high as you can, to be unapologetic that it is impro. It has to look like a master-crafted musical that would sit alongside anything else in the West End. Watching people under pressure trying to attain that is the delight."
Lucas, who played performance artist Leigh Bowery in the musical Taboo, is likely to be subjected to anything from Abba to Verdi, via Bollywood. Presumably, though, no one will dare suggest he reprise the black and white minstrel act that he and David Walliams notoriously pastiched in Little Britain.