SHOWCASE, Edinburgh’s annual fundraising concert series for Macmillan Cancer Support, always guarantees an evening of top quality entertainment.
Next week, at the Church Hill Theatre, the 50-strong company are set to add to the £213,000 they have raised to date, with a show called Heroes, in which they pay tribute to “Macca at 70”, while remembering other musical legends, past and present.
The real heroes of the week, of course, are the performers on stage and their 14-piece orchestra, all of whom donate their time and talents free of charge – proceeds go directly to Macmillan Cancer Support.
One such hero is Charles Leeson Payne, 50, of Blackford. He is only too aware of the value of the work Macmillan do working with and caring for people with cancer.
“It may seem that my job as a hospital consultant, working mostly in the operating theatres of the Royal Infirmary, couldn’t be more different from appearing with Showcase,” he says, “However, it’s probably not quite as different as people think. The clue is in the word theatre.
“They’re both something of a carefully crafted performance, although one is for entertainment and enjoyment while the other is to relieve pain, anxiety and fear by providing calm sleep and quick recovery.
“Both are done with some careful preparation and instances of split second timing. Both are all about people and both demand concentration for the best results. “Neither is all fun or totally serious. There are days of work and evening rehearsals which you couldn’t guess which had more of each.
“I joined Showcase for a real contrast and have to admit it’s sometimes difficult to derole from one to the other straight after finishing a day at work. But it’s great to meet a completely different group of friendly faces, who don’t care (and probably have no wish to know) what I’ve just been doing at work all day.
“I am certainly old enough to know better, but always try to take the opportunity to have some fun, especially if it involves dressing up and singing, even if there is the risk of looking silly.”
Another cast member with first-hand experience of cancer is Marjorie Hunter, 46, a Deputy Charge Nurse at the Sick Kids, from Craigleith.
Now in her 14th year with Showcase she says, “I love the fact I can meet and rehearse with friends, put on a great show and raise money at the same time.”
Livingston-based builder Andy McGarry, 51, joined Showcase 21 years ago.
“Having lost my father and friends to cancer, I believe you can’t get a better feeling than that from helping others through doing something you enjoy.”
Solicitor and barrister Ibiyemi Osinaike, 34, from Pumpherston, is in his fourth year with Showcase and has a similar tale.
He says, “I started doing this for the love of music and entertaining and to meet new people then, dramatically, both my dad and my father-in-law were diagnosed with cancer in the same year and my membership and the work we do suddenly took on a whole new meaning for me.
“Interesting how priorities change eh?”
• Showcase: Heroes, Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road, Tuesday-Saturday, 7.30pm (Saturday Matinee, 2.30pm), £9-£12.50, 07982 515 518/www.show-case.co.uk