Joe Longthorne has confirmed he will not be joining his showbiz friends for Viva’s Sunday show until next month – after having cancer surgery at the start of July.
Joe was due to perform a residency at the Church Street cabaret bar but had to make alternative arrangements when he was diagnosed with throat and mouth cancer in May.
Musicals’ star Darren Day stepped in to take on the show, renamed That’s What Friends Are For, and has been joined by singers Carol Kaye, Tracey Jordan and musical director Andy Mudd, as well as Viva’s Leye D Johns and Showgirls.
Prior to the first show, the Viva team were hopeful Joe would be at every show, if not performing for his many dedicated fans, and would gradually build up to joining in with his friends on stage.
But after attending the July 27 opening night, he has not been the past two weeks.
On Sunday, he issued an update on his condition on his website, after a check up at the Royal Preston Hospital.
“The doctors seem to be very pleased with my progress so far,” he said. “However they do stress, as is the case of anyone who has undergone a 12- hour procedure, that it will be a marathon rather than a sprint before I will be back to tapping on all cylinders.
“I’m advised to get plenty of rest and quiet relaxation and to let my body heal during this convalescent period, so for now I’m working on being back at Viva for September 14.
“So, I’ll be pulling back for a short while.”
He also thanked fans for their flowers and cards, as well as donations for the Joe Longthorne Foundation.
Viva director Martin Heywood said: “Joe’s fans who have seen the show have all been pleasantly surprised with Darren. We’re getting plenty of input from Joe, and expect there will be crossover between Darren and Joe when the time comes.”