Monday, 17 October 2022

REVIEW: The Choir Of Man at The Arts Theatre

Be it a night out with your mates, a celebration or for ‘just one', the pub tends to be the place to go. Stories are shared and memories are made. In this pub, ‘The Jungle’ the boys, or as they’re known ‘The Choir Of Man’ simply share their stories on stage. 

Accompanied by an eclectic array of popular songs from the likes of Adele. Sia, Queen and many more, with the slight difference that we’re not just the audience, but more punters in for a lock-in like none, we’ve ever experienced before. 

As The Poet (Ben Norris) takes centre stage and introduces the other members of the choir, The Maestro (Michael Baxter), The Romantic (Matt Beveridge), The Beast (Owen Bolton), The Joker (Matt Thorpe), The Hard Man (Levi Tyrell Johnson), The Barman (Lemuel Knights), The Pub Bore (Matt Nalton) and finally The Handyman (Jordan Oliver). Everyone is mentioned as The Poet explains that no one is any different, they’re all the same, a hugely close group who are to quote Ben, ‘only as strong as their weakest. 

It’s Instantly warming, just watching a group of men who love each other and enjoy every second of each other's company have the time of their life, makes the show feel pure and wholesome. It makes everything seem simple. A release from the heavy strains and burdens that everyday life brings us, a trip to the pub that not only heals but momentarily for 90 minutes, cures. 

What many shows struggle with, when they bring relevance into the show as modern as the very year we’re in, is they lose believability. It almost becomes more about trying to be impressive and topical rather than relevant. This show however doesn’t take that approach but simply tries to be just a normal day in the week. There’s mention of lockdown, mental health and everything current today but the atmosphere in the pub combined with the normal names of the actors used throughout the show after introductions make it simplistic and effective. The curtain falls and they’re no more actors but simply everyday people having a drink with their mates. 

The only real thing the show is lacking is that there isn’t an actual storyline so to speak. The men regale with stories and songs but as far as an actual storyline goes there isn’t one. Taking nothing away from the show though, it’s tremendous. For a show that started at the Edinburgh fringe in 2017 to get to where it’s got now, you can only wish it continued success. 

All in all, It’s brilliant. Producers Andrew Kay and Nic Doodson have created a night of pure joy and with Doodson’s direction, it’s the perfect balance of upbeat songs mixed with moments of pain and heartache that blend to create a night at the pub that will most certainly be worth the morning hangover that follows!
Review by George Butler

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls L18 | Price of Ticket: £37.50

Blog Design by pipdig