Who’s on at the Church Hill Theatre

Sep 20 2013 | By More

Showcase returns with Dr Who, Rod and The Proclaimers

A scene from last year's production Photo © Showcase

A scene from last year’s production Photo © Showcase

By Thom Dibdin

The songfest of showstoppers and chart toppers that is the annual Showcase performance returns to the Church Hill Theatre next week for a five-night run from Tuesday through to Saturday.

And topping the bill will be a string of tunes made famous by a truly stellar range of characters, from the “do you think he’s sexy” Rod Stewart to “yes we know your sexy” Dr Who and musicals ranging from Miss Saigon to Sunshine on Leith.

With an amateur cast of 50 on the stage and 14 members of the orchestra, Showcase is able to focus hard on the music and its semi-staged delivery, without having to bow to any demands of plot.

This year’s theme is hardly confining, as you might imagine, going under the name of Musical Diversity and boasting a something for everyone attitude.

Making sure it all turns out right is Andy Johnston, who knows a thing or two about marshalling large quantities of performers on the stage, with ten years commitment to the Edinburgh Gang Show. But he has been involved with Showcase for even longer.

“My arrival coincided with the arrival of a new Musical Director – I first met David McFarlane over a few beers at Christmas 1997 with our (then!) respective partners,” Johnston remembers. “We chatted about shows and music in general and realised that we had quite a few ‘likes’ in common. Since that day, David and I have arranged and staged over four hundred songs for Showcase – and had considerably more beers!

“I can genuinely say that in the fifteen years that we have worked together we have never had a cross word and it is really thanks to David’s exceptional musical talents that Showcase is the company it is today.”

Putting on a fresh show every year is not the easy gig you might imagine. What sets the standard has been an ability to keep its finger on the pulse of popular music and new, contemporary musicals – while giving a nod to some of the greats.

The treats in store for audiences up at the Church Hill

Thus it marks the return of Miss Saigon to the West End where it has just shattered box office records on its first day on sale. The company also pay tribute to Dundee Rep’s production of Sunshine on Leith just as the motion picture of the Proclaimers’ musical is being launched.

“One of the great challenges of a company like Showcase is creating a show from scratch each and every year,” Johnston explains. “To achieve this we consider a wide variety of what is sometimes called ‘popular music’. Over the years we have covered material as wide and varied as The Beach Boys and Plan B – everything from Simon & Garfunkel to Kylie Minogue!”

What then are the treats in store for audiences up at the Church Hill this year? While Andy is not willing reveal the secrets of the staging – this is very much more than a concert performance and it is always a thrill to find out the costumes and dance routines in store – he is quite open as to the nature of the songs which will be on offer.

“This year’s show is no different – an eclectic mix of popular and theatre music,” he says. “Featuring a breathtakingly energetic Rock’n’Roll Medley; a series of classic duets ranging from Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston to Barcelona; show tunes from musicals as varied as American Idiot and Jesus Christ Superstar; a special tribute to Rod Stewart; a celebration of 50 years of Dr Who with a selection of Murray Gold’s brilliant music; a medley from the forthcoming movie Sunshine On Leith and a finale featuring songs from Coldplay, The Hollies and the musical Rent – in short, something for everyone.”

The great thing is, if you don’t like the tune, you can sit back and enjoy the spectacle. And if that still doesn’t work for you, there’ll be something else along in a few minutes.

Musical Diversity: Church Hill Theatre; Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28t September. 7.30pm (Saturday Matinee 2.30pm)
Tickets from: www.show-case.co.uk
Hotline: 07728 870857

Proceeds from all Showcase productions go to an annual donation to Macmillan Cancer Support, to assist with their extraordinary work, helping people who live with cancer.


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