Created: 10 Jul 2013 17:20
Updated: 10 Jul 2013 17:20
Showstoppers performing at The Royal Albert Hall (and now Little Ship Club)

No-one knew quite what to expect (apart from maybe Sue Lyons who brought Showstoppers to the Club). With a brilliantly sunny day and warm evening, the solo violinist with a flower in his hat, looked like the warm up act for what promised to be a musical made up on the spot. He serenaded us graciously as we waited to be seated for dinner and inventive improvisation.

It certainly was that, a hilarious and entertaining time which started with an audience warm up to get us into the idea of calling out suggestions (these people had clearly not experienced the ribaldry of a Tuesday night at Bell Wharf Lane before). Then it was time to choose the location: "Sydney!", "Wimbledon", "Cowes" were suggestions from the audience. With a vote based on how loudly we cheered, Sydney won the day, and the Opera House was chosen as the location.

So we were ready for the first act of "The Sydney Queen" - which featured Dame Cassandra the Italian opera diva who commands men to marry her, Wayne, the gay tenor, in love with Luciano Pavarotti, commanded to marry Cassandra; and Sandra the gangly chorus girl in love with Wayne. Throw in some interesting versions of Aussie and Italian accents and a pianist. Luciano Pavarotti made a guest appearance in the same scene as Wayne (both played by the same actor) and this fast-moving, sometimes subversive, plot played out amid the guffaws of the audience.

It was very clever, very witty and amusing. We were all trying to work out how they managed to put it together, but according to Sue Lyons, it's different every time.

And the solo violinist? Turned out he wasn't part of it at all, but a busker who Alick Downing had met in the pub and invited to come in and play for tenner and a glass of beer. It certainly added to the improvised quality of the evening! Yet another great night out at the Little Ship Club.