There’s a Lola going on up at the Church Hill

Oct 25 2011 | By More

Allegro stage Manilow’s Copacabana

Elaine Graham as Lola, with Copa showgirls: Linsey Brack, Lindsey Affleck, Shelley Rayner, Alison Wood and Jennifer O'Neill. Photo credit: Joni Smith

By Thom Dibdin

Music and passion should be all of the fashion in Morningside this week, as the Allegro amateur musical company stage a new production of Copacabana, the musical which draws on Barry Manilow’s top ten hit of 1978 for its inspiration.

Copacabana the stage musical, with its story of Lola la Mar the would-be show girl from Oklahoma, moves away slightly from the original song, but is still a magnet for big cheesy glitz. It should be with Lola’s “yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there” – as Manilow wrote in the song.

Allegro president, Linsey Brack says: “We are itching to get on stage and we cant wait to bring that fun from rehearsals to the stage of the Church Hill. This is a high energy, fun filled show that is sure to leave the audience with a smile on their face at the final curtain.”

The tale of love and romance is set at the heart of the swinging Manhattan night-club scene of the 1940s. Stephen, an aspiring songwriter who is desperate to create the next big hit, provides the framework dream which which drives the show. In it, his alter ego, Tony – a bartender with dreams of his own – falls in love with the lovely Lola.

First staged in London’s West End in 1994, Copacabana was a big hit with audiences, but left the critics less impressed. One allegedly wrote that it was “Recommended to those who enjoy watching people wearing pineapples on their heads and lemons round their groins…” adding, the somewhat begrudging comment: “jovially vulgar”.

Allegro’s production sees director Janice Bruce reunited with choreographer Alison Scott and musical director Angus Tully, following on from their success with last year’s Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Elaine Graham as Lola and Fraser Jamieson as Tony with Copa showgirls: Jennifer O'Neill, Lindsey Affleck and Shelley Rayner. Photo credit: Joni Smith

On stage, Elaine Graham will take on the role of ambitious show girl, Lola, with Fraser Jamieson as Tony, the barman at the world-famous Copacabana night-club, who falls instantly in love with her. Laura Reed is Tony’s friend, former Copa girl Gladys, with whom he persuades Malcolm Cannon’s Sam Silver to let Lola make it onto the stage.

In the baddie’s corner, Eddie McDowell is lined up as Rico, the dastardly Cuban night-club owner whose attentions are not at all welcome. Melanie Serwood plays Conchita, Rico’s leading showgirl whose star is somewhat on the wane.

“All of Allegro is looking forward to bringing Copacabana to life and even more to the fun of show week. As a committee we picked this show because it is the perfect mix for Allegro and genuinely has something for everyone. Whether you are a singer or a dancer this show showcases talent and highlights what an amazingly strong cast Allegro really does have.

“Barry Manilow is an extremely talented songwriter and the entire cast has worked hard to ensure we do his composing justice. The rehearsal period has as always been busy and hard work but it has also been great fun.”

Copacabana runs at the Church Hill Theatre, 33 Morningside Road, Edinburgh, EH10 4DR from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 Oct. at 7.30pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets priced at £13 (£10 for the matinee) are available from the Allegro ticket booking line 07526 718676 or

Allegro website:


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