Wednesday, 10 November 2021

REVIEW: The Choir of Man at the Arts Theatre

When I hear the word “choir”, I often think of a traditional setting, with outdated music, delivered in a classical genre. After watching The Choir of Man, that vision has truly been shattered and reborn for me! 

Last night I attended the opening press night performance of The Choir of Man, which following three sell-out seasons at the Sydney Opera House and multiple sold-out US and European tours has just started its debut West End run at The Arts Theatre, London. I have often seen this show advertised, however, have never had the opportunity to see it first-hand. Therefore, when the opportunity arose, I grabbed it with both hands, and I can’t express how thrilled I am that I did! 

Set in your everyday local pub, The Jungle, the show delves into the lives of nine multi-talented individuals. Packed full of heart, humour, and harmony (just literally with their world-class, faultless vocals!), and featuring a jam-packed soundtrack of reimagined folk, pop, Broadway and rock chart-toppers from artists including Guns ‘N’ Roses, Fun!, Adele, Avicii, Paul Simon, Sia, and more, this show is an irresistible lock-in that you never want to end! 

I’ve often heard the phrase “you were born to do this” passed around throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I watched the cast of The Choir of Man that I truly resonated with and understood it. This show is where the true magic of theatre lies. No gimmicks or extravagant scenery, no bedazzling costumes, just rich, raw, undeniable talent, complex harmonies, and the highest quality of vocals and musicianship you could ask for. This cast are true professionals, with effortless performances that allow you to sit back and indulge. 

It’s extremely rare in this world to find a cast of individuals whose talent is near impossible to describe. The energy of this group was truly unlike anything I have seen for a long time. Just when I thought they had reached the peak, they smashed my expectations and dialled it up yet another level. This cast is hungry to entertain, and it definitely shows. With multiple standing ovations throughout the performance, endless audience interaction, and roars of laughter, applause and pure joy from the crowd, this show is precisely what each and every one of us needs in our life right now. 

The cast, musicians, crew, and creatives of this show have created an atmosphere where you feel welcomed, seen, engaged and part of the celebration of the most meaningful things in life. 

Credit, in particular, has to be given to Ben Norris, Monologues Writer and The Poet within the cast. While this show may not have a “story” in the traditional sense, Norris has created a set of monologues that act as heartfelt reminders of those things we should treasure most dearly in life. Messages that are relatable, and truly resonate following the challenges of the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additionally, The Handyman (Freddie Huddleston) delivered multiple outstanding pieces of tap choreography that would be worthy of any stage worldwide. 

With that being said, credit must be given to every cast member whom each had their own moment to shine and showcase the best of their talents. Simply, this cast is a powerhouse unit of entertainment and skill. 

For me, this show is a tribute to those we have lost, unforgettable memories, and the good times that are still to come. A reminder that home isn’t about materialistic or physical qualities, but those you go to in moments of crisis. This show is the perfect reminder to each and every one of us, that no matter what the world throws at us, we are strongest when we are together. 

Review by Adam Tipping 

Rating: ★★★★★

Seat: Circle Slips Left (L5) 

Tickets: from £15.00 (reduced price previews from 29 October to 8 November - check website for details)

Currently booking to 13 February 2022. Approximate Running Time: 80 minutes (no interval). 
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