Showstopper!'s Lucy Trodd: Preview Week In The West End
Hiya! Lucy Trodd here (the tall one - if you've seen Showstopper). Over the next 10 weeks you'll hear from the actors, musicians and technicians involved in Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (we work on a rota system so it seemed easier this way, and it'll give you a real insight into our CULT... I mean company).
So, we previewed last Thursday (24th Sept). Our opening show was set in a Las Vegas casino (title: I LOST ALL MY MONEY). To give you an idea of the sort of plots we come up with; Adam and I played the mothers of the protagonists, we went undercover as men in fezzes with giant cigars and won all the casino money, which we gave to the church. The audience seemed to go for it - not sure we've had a standing ovation on three tiers before (proud face). In truth, I find it hard to remember the plots unless it was last night. I remember them by what hat I was wearing.
Since Thursday, the musicals have been set in: a wizard's tower (feather hat), Henry VIII's court (red wide brimmed), a VW car factory (baseball cap) a pig farm (no hat), and a haunted brothel in 1920s Paris (that feather hat again). We've been going for eight years now and have made up over 600 musicals based on audience suggestions. If you look outside the Apollo Theatre, you'll see all the previous show titles! YOU TOO COULD JOIN THE ARCHIVE AND GO DOWN IN THEATRE HISTORY. Come and shout at us!
We now have enough players to field two teams. On Saturday one team was playing Eastbourne whilst we were in the West End. In the interval we asked for tweeted suggestions to further the story and shake it up a bit. It was the first time tweets for both shows were coming through at the same time and the 'writer' didn't know which were for which show - so Eastbourne used one of the West End tweets for fun. I should maybe explain about the writer character in Showstopper, who gets all the audience suggestions, but I don't want to ruin it for you! COME! JOIN OUR CULT.
So what's new now we're in the W.E.? Well, we have lovely new costumes (they even bought me my own special hats because I have such an ENORMOUS head), the set and lights have been pimped up and we have NEW MUGS. YES, NEW MERCHANDISE! The crew at the Apollo are so great. There's a moment after every show when the cast pause to think, "Oh, we don't have to clear up the set, pack away the hats, load up the van, sort the mics" etc. There are so many thoughtful people who help us.
It is really nice to have a room to leave all my ESSENTIAL things in (party ring biscuits, felt tips, miniature cutlery set - I NEED THOSE THINGS). I am sharing a dressing room with two lady Showstoppers (Susan and Sarah- who you shall hear from in the following weeks). Mostly we are not in the same shows, so I sit by myself and listen to jazz whilst penning creepy post-it notes for my room mates. We are planning a long drawn-out game of Scrabble.
"What Is It Like In The Backstage of The Theatre?" This is one of my favourite show titles (children always shout out the best ideas). Our backstage smells like oranges because Michael on stage door likes them (note to self, always carry an orange). Before we go on stage we do a stretch circle and group vocal warm-up, but we also play a lot of games which make us look like we're in a cult (JOIN US). You know, like throwing-imaginary-stick games and invented games like "My Horse" and "What's in the fridge".
Today Justin and I recorded the vocals (Duncan on keys) for the Showstopper Magic FM radio jingle. This was too much fun - you may hear it 60 times in the coming weeks. RIGHT, I must go and return to the cult, they'll wonder whom I am talking to OUTSIDE. Oh, if you're reading this to the end you are now in the cult. WELCOME... TO BE CONTINUED (not by me!).
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical runs at the Apollo Theatre until November 29.