There is a one simple reason why The Choir Of Man has received awards such as Pick of the 2018 Adelaide Fringe for Week One, and garnered such a mass of positive reviews from the press and across social media outlets – it is an unequivocally brilliant show.
The main conceit, centred upon male bonding and a love of pub culture, is a cleverly chosen one, which is almost guaranteed to resonate with Australian audiences.
Turning the space within The Flamingo in Gluttony in to the local pub’s front bar was a fantastic idea, and the intimacy this ploy creates assists the steady dropping of inhibition, in both the characters and audience members alike, and ultimately draws the audience into an irresistible sharing of emotion.
Every performer in this extremely talented group of nine British men brings something different to the mix, and the collected versatility on show here is very impressive. They all sing in various combinations, prove themselves to be accomplished multi-instrumentalists, and establish the fact that they are also fantastic dancers.
Tied together by a spoken rhyming narrative running throughout, which paints the pub as the last bastion of communication, connection and camaraderie in a society working against unity and community, each character’s tale is clearly presented through the performance of songs carefully chosen to reflect their state of mind or the current phase of their lives.
These revelations are never heavy-handed – all of the ensemble present the pathos here lightly – but there is certainly a warm and appealing melancholy present at times, capturing the authentic heart and spirit of those near closing time ‘deep and meaningfuls’ with friends and strangers that so many in the audience would have experienced at some point in their past.
The show is structured to frequently include audience interaction, but with free liquid refreshments offered as an incentive, the usual show of reluctance displayed by those targeted at the front and in the aisle seats at most shows was clearly missing here!
This is The Choir Of Man’s first sortie outside of Britain, and Adelaide is their first testing ground to see if the show has the necessary universality to travel to other potential markets.
On the evidence presented on The Flamingo’s stage this year, I think this choir will be a highlight of the Adelaide Fringe for years to come – providing they can find room in their future itineraries between certain sell-out seasons around the globe!
If you haven’t seen this show yet, make the effort to grab a ticket whilst you can. It is a show that you will find hard to beat for value, energy, and the sheer joy that is encapsulated in the performance.
Rating: 5 stars
The Choir Of Man is performing at The Flamingo in Gluttony until March 18.
Tickets are available here: The Choir Of Man tickets