Imagine being in a show for which there is no script and the audience are in charge. Adam Megiddo, co-founder of Showstoppers who are heading to Manchester at the weekend, answers a few questions

What can the audience expect from the show?

A musical! With catchy songs, dazzling dance routines, sweeping storylines and hilarious characters. The only difference with our show is that EVERYTHING is entirely made up on the spot out of audience suggestions. It’s all 100 per cent improvised.

What inspired you to develop the concept of Showstoppers!?

About 10 years ago, some of us were working with the great theatre maverick Ken Campbell. Ken was inspired by a troupe he had seen in Canada called Die Nasty. He said their improvisation was so slick, entertaining and impressive that it was better than a great deal of scripted theatre. We decided to do the same with a musical. The Showstoppers love musicals - and we love improvisation - so this project was a perfect fit for us all!

…and how did you all meet?

Some through Ken Campbell, some through Dylan Emery (co-creator/director of Showstopper!). We are an eccentric rag-tag bunch of misfits and oddities and somehow that works perfectly for this show!

Is there a recipe for good improvisation?

The basic principles are actually quite simple. The rest is practice. It's mostly about listening. Real listening. Listening to each other’s ideas, agreeing with them immediately and building on them. For Showstopper of course we have to know our musicals so a huge amount of hard work is part of that recipe too.

I imagine that a strong relationship between the cast members if fundamental to the success of this show. Can you almost second guess each other’s responses?

Sometimes yes. But often the real fun is when we clash and don’t quite catch what’s happening. The audience sees everything so they enjoy seeing these clashes and wondering how we are going to get out of the trouble we have put ourselves in! The relationship is not just between performers but also the band, our lighting operator and of course, the audience.

Do you have back-up material that you can pull out of the bag if necessary?

Nope. Never. It doesn’t help to do so. Trying to plan anything in advance actually makes it more difficult to improvise. It’s genuinely easier to stay calm, present and be in the moment. Riskier - yes - but ultimately that’s how the show is created.

Do you ever get accused of planting audience members with specific requests?

All the time. There are some people who will never believe its improvised. I guess it’s a compliment in a way. It honestly is entirely improvised with no plants or stooges. Some people have seen the show 50 or 60 times! they would have said something by now if they thought we were cheating. Anyway, where’s the fun in having plants in the audience? We genuinely want to be challenged.

How much of the success of the show is rooted in the tension created by the feeling of ‘will they mess up’?

The element of danger is essential. It’s essential in all love theatre but often lacking. Well. you’ll get it by the sack full in this show.

How hard do audiences try and bamboozle you with outlandish suggestions?

A great deal. Usually the ideas are not as imaginative as they initially think. We ask the audience to try to dream up their best ideas and come up with something genuinely inspiring that makes a great musical. Having said that, if you really want it set in a toilet on the moon, we’ll do it!

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Palace Theatre, Manchester, Saturday, February 10. Details from 0844 871 3019 or