The Choir of Man brings together nine talented lads from across the United Kingdom into an intimate pub setting, to belt out some of your favourite tunes. Narrated by George Bray, we’re told the story of how a local pub is more than just a place to drink. It is a place where you’re welcomed no matter who you are or where you’re from. And how, when you’re amongst mates, anything is possible.
With classic tunes such as ‘Save Tonight’ by Eagle Eye Cherry, ‘Wake Me Up‘ by Avicii and The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’, to current pop hits such as Adele’s ‘Hello’ and a wonderful rendition of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’, The Choir of Man has something for everyone.
The iconic songs are each reimagined to tell a different story, and from the perspective of a different pub member. However, the show is more than just a bunch of popular hits on-stage. Each one of the incredible cast members can play an instrument, and one even tap dances. There is even some very clever percussion techniques and visually pleasing choreography that utilise items from the pub setting.
Songs and musical performances aside, The Choir of Man tells of some very important messages to the audience. Such as, how our iconic watering holes are being demolished without a second thought and are being replaced with ‘dog box’ apartments. The show even touches on mental health on how men need be aware that it is okay to open-up, speak from the heart and to talk about their problems with friends.
As mentioned previously, The Choir of Man has quite the cast with each member playing themselves, but with a different persona; featuring George Bray as the narrator, James Hudson as the joker, John Sheehy as the casanova, Ben Langridge as the beast, Guy Salim as the taper, Matthew Hobbs as the pub bore, Tom Reade as the pianoman, Mickey Shearer as the hardman and last but definitely not least, Tom Gadie as the barman. For me, the clear stand out of the show would have to be Tom Gadie with his superhuman pipes and incredible athleticism. His rendition of Escape (The Piña Colada Song) is something not to be missed. George Bray’s story telling is impressive and really draws you in, both making you feel at home and as if you were one of his best mates, which at times made me feel quite emotional.
The Choir of Man is also heavy into audience participation. We’re invited on stage before the show for a beer (Courtesy of Stomping Ground Breweries). Audience members are dragged up on stage several times throughout, with my favourite performance, which contained audience participation) would have to be a cheeky rendition of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. However, as a massive Katy Perry fan, I may be a little biased on this one. Patrons are even encouraged to take photos and videos so they can be shared and tagged on social media after the show.
The Choir of Man is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, and is a show that doesn’t just fit into one genre. The staging is extremely clever, and the vocal performances are superb. I laughed, I sang along (horribly), I was emotional moved, and I felt at home.
And after sustaining a rather nasty fall the week prior where I broke my elbow, The Choir of Man was exactly the pick-me-up that I needed. This feel good show is incredible and deserves your attention. Do yourselves a favour and head along to see it. Shamelessly, I loved the show so much, I have already secured my second ticket to go again.
The Choir of Man is performing in Australia for its first national tour and is currently playing at Melbourne’s Playhouse Theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne until January 12.
For more information on the production or ticketing, visit: choirofman.com
Photography by David and Chris Cann.