Review from the Edinburgh
Evening News, Wednesday 26th September 2001
Fun-filled Showcase of nostalgia
Church Hill Theatre ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶
While the line promises "music of the future, music of the
past", this presentation by Showcase Musical Productions was most definitely reading
from a songbook that last saw print sometime in the mid-Eighties.
Its probably just a coincidence that Showcase was also conceived around this time.
Initially intended as a one-off show at the Church Hill for charitable purposes in 1985,
organisers John Wright and Bobby Harvey established this event as an annual performance
some 11 years ago.
Given that all concerned contribute their time and skill for free and have raised over
£80,000 for Macmillan Cancer Relief in the interim, you have to look on that as some kind
of success, before taking the shows quality into account.
So - all philanthropic considerations aside - was it a good night? Well, everyone over the
age of thirtysomething was well catered for, with any attempt at narrative being
jettisoned in favour of five separate "greatest hits" sections covering four
decades of music.
Kicking off is Broadway Memories and were in "extravaganza" territory
right from the start. At this point its fair to say that all the performers, whether
soloists or chorus members, are in fantastic voice, and its not easy to pick any
At a push, the kudos would have to go to Debi Fyfe for Cant Help Lovin Dat Man
(from Showboat) and Gary Gray for an energetic Sit Down Youre Rockin The Boat,
the latter with a chorus who are superbly choreographed considering how little room there
is on stage for all 45 of them.
An American legend is essayed next, as the Showcase players salute the Detroit hit factory
Motown. Populist Sixties Motown, that is, complete with day-glo shirts for the men and
smart, swinging dresses for the girls. Its like Vietnam never happened and
Whats Going On remained forever a twinkle in Marvins eye.
That said, this sections opener, Dancing In The Street, is a suitably celebratory
affair. Elsewhere, I Heard It Through The Grapevine prowls as youd expect it to and
a choral Aint No Mountain High Enough hits the peaks.
After the break, the orchestra wrong-foot us all with some twee classicism before the
curtains are flung back and everyone launches into Waterloo. Yes, thats right,
its time to slap some life into the corpse of Eurovision!
Hold on, though, arent Abba meant to make you want to dance? Not if their songs are
being performed by almost four dozen static people losing vocal momentum at roughly the
Things get better as Jenny Young storms through Puppet On A String, and Bucks Fizzs
Making Your Mind Up sees everyone kitted out in patriotic red, white and blue.
Next, some sartorial sense in Frank And Dino, a tribute to the only two Rat Packers most
people can name. Peter Tomassi does his best Vegas crooner impersonation during Love And
Marriage, Ian Hunter provides the evenings laughs by singing in cod Italian for
Thats Amore and this sections closer is - what else? - My Way.
The best is definitely saved for the grand headliners finale, though. To wit: a raunchy
rendition of Money (from Cabaret) by one Crofton Palmer and various scantily-clad dancers,
Heather Hughen (one of the evenings true stars) belting out a sublime No More Tears
with Dawnne Mahmood, and the shows defining popular appeal crossover, a choral
finale of Queens Somebody To Love.
So in the end, then, the appeal may have been limited for younger members of the audience,
but the enthusiasm and professionalism of the company combined to provide a glossy,
entertaining spectacle nonetheless.