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Edinburgh Fringe 2013

The Showstoppers Family Hour


Genre: Improvised Theatre

Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot


Low Down

Family friendly, musical comedy improvisation based on audience ideas! 


Entering the Wine Room of the Gilded Balloon Teviot, we are met with singing.  It is 5 performers on stage singing about the audience as they enter the room.  A great vocal and improvisational warm up for them, and an entertaining preparation for us.  Another of the performers is walking around the audience with a very large bucket, and asking people to put objects in it to be used during the story, and assures us we will get them back at the end of the show. 
Apart from the performers sitting on the stage, there are a large number of cardboard boxes.  To the right of the stage are 3 musicians, and somewhere at the back of the room is someone controlling the lights.  I take notice of these because in an improv show, all these things are improvised as well, not just the storyline.
Doors closed lights down and the family hour begins.  The children in the audience are asked “where would you like this story to begin?”  Hands shoot up around the room and suggestions start flying.  Location chosen, and the story starts. 
During the following hour, we as the audience are asked on numerous occasions for our suggestions, and each time the story makes another incredible twist and turn.  Items are pulled out from the bucket at various times, and my son’s contribution to the bucket becomes a major prop throughout the story.
The story is compelling, the audience become characters in it at times, and the children all leap at the opportunity to get on stage and join in a very special improvised dance.  We all sing along during the choruses of the made-up songs, and the musicians provide not only accompaniment for the songs, but a backing track for the entire story.
These performers are at the top of their game in improvisation, and know exactly which offers to accept, and when to advance the story line.  It was joyous to watch the children become totally engrossed in this story that will never be told again.  The format is a tried and tested one, but that is the reason it works.

This is a show that the entire family will love.  It only runs until the 13th, so make sure you see it before it finishes.