As I was complaining to a regular theatre going friend about the West End prices of some shows and my need to see one show, he replied “It’s twice as good as it is hyped, The Choir of Man, easily the best show in the West End and does not cost a King’s ransom to see”.
Truth be told it was a show that was not on my radar and hadn’t appealed to me. One rainy Saturday we took a chance and managed to grab the last two seats with my room- mate. The atmosphere seemed exciting enough on arrival with an eclectic audience. Many were repeat viewers; sitting next to me was an excited lady who had seen the show 12 times and was there with her friend, who was quoted as a “virgin” to the whole thing.
This is the second time around in the West End for “The Choir of Man” and playing at one of my favourite theatres, The Arts. There is something about this show that makes you smile from the minute you sit down. Audience members are even asked pre-show to join the 9 cast members on the stage set, a pub called “The Jungle”.
There is no complicated plot to the “The Choir of man “. It is this simple: 9 of the regular customers come together to tell stores and sing songs.
I know, it does not sound like my cup of tea (or pint of bitter) either.
However, there is a lot more to this gem of a show that will have you shouting “no” to closing time. It challenges stereo-types and pulls you into a really feel-good show that will have you not only smiling but wanting to go back for more. In fact, my roommate went back a few weeks later.
Each of the 9 cast members has a story to tell and as the show goes on, they unravel more of their tales with names like the Romantic and the Beast; you quickly identify with them. This gives a sense of intimacy which allows you to enjoy the show but also get to know the real people behind the roles and champion them.
The Choir of Man title might be a little misleading as it not religious or that type of music. It is the very best of vocal talent brought together.
It is hard to sit in your seat as you want to jump up and join in with numbers such as Queen’s “Somebody to love” and Paul Simon’s “5O Ways to Leave your Lover”.
The song and dance number will simply blow you away. The absolute highlight was the ‘a cappella’ rendition of Adele’s “Hello”. If there was ever a reason to go back this was it. It even has a feel of immersed theatre with audience members pulled up to join in.
What makes this show so special is that it challenges what we may think a man is which I really appreciated, having written a lot recently about breaking the “Boys do not cry” mould. This is a show that presents all aspects of men and serves it up in a pint glass for all to see. For sure I will be getting another round in at “The Jungle “soon,
Choir of Man is playing until August 31st. Get your tickets HERE.