Waiting in the Wings

Oct 18 2014 | By More

★★★★☆     Wonderful tribute

Church Hill Theatre  Fri 17 – Sat 18 Oct 2014

Radiating warmth, fun and affection, Waiting In The Wings is a great evening for a good cause.

The evening has been put together in aid of Brain Tumour Research by family and friends of Jenny Hogg. Jenny, who died in March this year aged only 33, spent many years in backstage roles for Edinburgh amateur companies, notably Tempo and Forth Children’s Theatre, and it is from these companies that the majority of the cast is drawn.

Jenny Hogg. Photo from Forth Children's Theatre

Jenny Hogg. Photo from Forth Children’s Theatre

It is a testimony to the affection and respect in which she was held that so many performers were ready to take part in a concert drawn from Jenny’s favourite musicals. A performance featuring more than thirty songs from over twenty shows, with nearly forty featured singers, could easily have turned out as a well-meaning mess, but that is definitely not the case here. A determination from all concerned to do it right means that this is an evening that succeeds on many levels.

With so many talents on show, it is not possible to list all the evening’s highlights, but Robert Moyes and Norma Kinnear both display their versatility with more than one appearance, with Kinnear’s wicked Annie parody from Forbidden Broadway and Moyes’s dentist from Little Shop of Horrors being particularly pleasing.

Rebecca Gilhooley and Esther Scott’s affecting duet on In His Eyes from Jekyll and Hyde was matched in the emotion stakes by Andrew Dyer’s creditable rendition of Dark End of The Street. Not the least impressive aspect of the production is the care that had gone into the running order, which means that the more touching performances contrast effectively with others like Alex Bathe’s well acted Fagin on Reviewing The Situation or Ronan Radin’s energetic Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.

an exhilarating ride

The contrast of styles on display, from Charlie Munro’s operatic take on Burt Bacharach to Georgia Moran’s a cappella Keep The Home Fires Burning, makes for a satisfying and pacy evening. The first half in particular, with sixteen songs crammed into an hour, is an exhilarating ride.

The second half has a little more room to stretch out, with featured sequences from recent Tempo productions of less familiar musicals such as Nunsense and MacPherson’s Rant. The appearance on stage of Jenny’s parents before the finale helps to remind everyone what the performance is about, and the drawing of a raffle with some very impressive prizes reinforces the real feeling of community that is felt throughout the show.

From Lorna Park’s full-throated Edith Piaf to Kerry Ann Dougan’s delicious Miss Hannigan, there is something here for all tastes. Every number shows considerable thought, with the whole production team deserving great credit for what is very much a labour of love.

The band features more than one performer with personal connections to the Hoggs. Musical director Douglas Anderson, Jenny’s cousin, displays unflagging stamina throughout in basically playing accompanist to over thirty singers in nearly as many styles.

Other members of the Edinburgh amateur theatre community have contributed, in particular Allegro, whose lighting equipment for their upcoming Our House is utilised.

Not surprisingly, there is the odd glitch in staging such a huge undertaking, but in reality it runs much more smoothly than a production of this scale has a right to.

In the end, it is completely unnecessary to make any allowances for what is a thoroughly entertaining performance. It deserves to make huge amounts of money for Brain Tumour Research, and any remaining tickets should be snapped up for a thoroughly fitting tribute to Jenny Hogg.

Running time 2 hours 45 minutes including interval
Church Hill Theatre, 33a Morningside Road, EH10 4DR
Run ends Saturday 18 October 2014
Evenings 7.30 pm

Tickets from: waitinginthewings@outlook.com or call 0131 538 6077.
Waiting in the Wings Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Waiting-in-the-Wings

Waiting in the Wings on Twitter: @Waiting_n_Wings
Details of Brain Tumour Research on their website: www.braintumourresearch.org 

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