AT the Church Hill Theatre this week, Showcase undoubtedly have a little something for everyone in Musical Diversity, their set list running to subsections of subsections just to keep up with all the songs they manage to shoehorn in to two hours.
The annual extravaganza, created to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, has raised in excess of £221,000 since inaugural show Frankenstein the Pantomime in 1990 and when the group are on form it’s easy to see why they draw a generous crowd.
Opening night, though, took a while to warm up. The curtain-raising Rock N Roll Medley was shaky, unconfident and uncoordinated. Indeed, there were brief moments throughout the evening that were self-consciously uncomfortable. The poor sound equipment in the theatre itself also hindered the first half of the night, particularly the opening solos.
It wasn’t until the final handful of songs in the first act that the cast really began to gel and invest in their performances. The band also took their time to pull together convincingly, which may have accounted for the inauspicious beginning. Gethsemane, from Jesus Christ Superstar, the act one finale led by Keith Kilgore, however, was a rousing highlight that really bonded the ensemble as a whole.
The second act had a more cohesive and convincing feel. Performing a Rod Stewart tribute with singers passing on the vocals to each other as they worked their way through the eras of Rod, the ensemble seemed to visibly relax.
A Happy Birthday to Who segment was heralded by an interpretive dance to Doctor Who’s original theme tune, instantly transporting many in the audience fondly back to the days of wobbly sets and monsters made from household objects.
The chorus handled the challenge of modern composition, The Dark and Endless Dalek Night with aplomb before tackling an upbeat medley from the musical that’s on everyone’s lips just now - Sunshine on Leith.
Showcase then launched into a well polished finale featuring Rent favourite Seasons of Love and Bobby Scott and Bob Russell’s classic He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.
Rating: * * *