ONE OF the stars from Channel 4 comedy Derek will be taking to the Malvern stage this week as part of a unique improvisation group who have become a global hit.
Actress and comedy star Ruth Bratt, who played Mary in the Ricky Gervais led sitcom, is part of the award-winning Showstoppers group who have performed across the world and whose next stop is at Malvern Theatres on Saturday (November 29) at 7.30pm.
At each performance, following random suggestions from audience members, a brand new musical comedy is created instantly on the spot from scratch as audience shout-outs are transformed into an all-singing, all-dancing production.
The group, who formed in 2008, are now enjoying a UK tour after seven years as an Edinburgh Fringe must-see phenomenon, four sell-out West End seasons and an acclaimed BBC Radio 4 series to their name.
The cast of Showstoppers features talented people who have worked with some of the best in comedy and musical theatre.
And one of them – Ruth – told the Observer the beauty and uniqueness behind such a group and theatre show.
“It’s great being a part of the Showstoppers, we have loads on fun on stage,” she said.
“There has never been a show where the audience have not come up with any suggestions and it’s great to see their reactions as the musical goes on.
“We know we can’t produce the level of a West End musical but it’s great to provide audiences with something a bit different and a piece of musical theatre which is enjoyable and funny.
“Improvisational comedy is becoming quite popular and I would say it has taken some sort of resurgence in recent times.
“Improvisation is something anybody can do. When you think about it, everyday life can be seen as improvising because nobody knows what’s coming up later in the day or during conversations.”
Ruth, who also starred in Vic Reeves’ Ministry of Curious Stuff and Mongrels, said working with such a star as Gervais was hugely beneficial.
“Being part of Derek was an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget,” she added.
“My agent suggested me for it and I remember being so nervous but excited when I auditioned for the role of Mary.
“Ricky Gervais is so talented and to see how he worked on a daily basis was fabulous.”
Tickets cost £16.80 and are available by visiting www.malvern-theatres.co.uk or calling 01684 892277.