|2008 Now That's What I Call Showcase|
(Note: the programme wrongly credited Andy McGarry with singing "Live and Let Die", when the glowing praise should have gone to Keith Kilgore. Sorry Keith!)
Now, that's what I call patchy
Published Date: 24 September 2008
By THOM DIBDIN
Now, That's What I Call Showcase! ***
Church Hill Theatre
SHOW-STOPPING interpretations combine with hugely ambitious selections to make this year's Showcase in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support potentially one of the best ever.
Having chosen the pick of the hits from their ten-year reign at the head of Showcase, director Andy Johnston and musical director David McFarlane have the stiff challenge of making sure that the songs are as good this time.
The result is patchy. There are moments that are pure five-star heaven, and the evening is well-paced. There are also long periods when the company struggle to maintain their high standards.
The James Bond Theme followed by Live And Let Die is a spine-tingling stunner to open the show. The presentation is spot on, with a white-suited Andy McGarry wandering on stage to sing Live and Let Die while the silhouettes of the writhing dancers are projected onto a cloth behind him.
Not only is the fourteen-strong orchestra confident in its delivery of the theme tune, but McGarry has a great voice for the song, while the silhouette technique allows the visuals to be just as sexy as the real thing but in a purely suggestive way.
For the rest of the six Bond-themed numbers, the results are somewhat underwhelming. Only when the company are halfway through the next section of hits "Through The Decades", does the temperature on stage begin to match that early high.
The moment comes with a medley of Go West and YMCA and is once again thanks to the panache of the presentation. Claire Smith's choreography of the chorus makes for a big bustling and colourful stage, while the men playing the parts of the Village People look and sound the part.
It is in the extended Beatles section that rounds off the first half that the difficulties are most obvious. Fiona MacFarlane does her best on Something, but doesn't have the vocal lightness of touch to do the song full justice.
Similarly, a medley of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and A Day In The Life is a good attempt, but lacks the right touch.
The show's second half comes on a lot stronger. A medley of songs from Moulin Rouge succeeds because the company are able to do a lot more with the staging. The very tricky El Tango De Roxanne is delivered near perfectly and the male chorus's version of Like A Virgin is stunning and hilarious.
As the shows cruises to its climax with a medley of simply presented show tunes including One Day More from Les Miserables the potential of this for five stars is once more visible. As it is in the subsequent Queen medley.
Overall, while this ambitious project knows how to finish with a flourish, it needs a lot more work on the more subtle numbers to achieve its full potential.