Adelaide Fringe Festival. The Moa at Gluttony. 15 Feb 2020
The Choir of Man is a great night out, pure and simple. To bill it as a ‘feel-good’ performance that leaves you with an aching smile on your face and restless toes in your shoes that just want to keep on tapping long after the show is over, is an understatement. It would also be dismissive to describe it as a performance chock full of iconic songs sung by a looking-good and sounding-good ensemble of nine stylish, well-dressed hip young men.
The show is all of these things, but it is so much more, so long as your heart is open to having a good time and you don’t mind being jostled around by the full house of humanity that is out for a good time with you, you’ll get it in bucket loads!
So, welcome to The Jungle, a fictitious pub that is loved by its regulars who like nothing better than to rub shoulders and bond with each other in true mateship, share stories, drink – sometimes to excess – and who love to sing. Sing? Why not! It can be the stuff of an ultimate good time. It is a true bonding experience. This is enviable masculinity. Nothing toxic here.
Upon entering the venue, the audience is invited up on stage to the bar for a free beer. Yes, free beer. No kidding. With the ticket price for the show at around $40, arguably you have already paid for a frothy, so why not. But this simple device – of breaking the so-called ‘fourth wall’ between audience and performer – has the effect of establishing the vehicle for the narrative of the show: we are ‘in’ the pub as actual customers, not voyeurs looking in from the outside.
Over the next ninety minutes The Choir of Man tunefully belt out in near perfect three (sometimes four) part harmony numerous songs starting with Welcome To The Jungle by Guns n Roses, and traversing the song lists of an eclectic range of artists including, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Adele, Queen, The Proclaimers, and Australia’s very own John Farnham. Every song is delivered with style, enthusiasm, musicality, as well as with slick choreography that oozes blokes having a wholesome good time – as opposed to appearing ‘studied’ and ‘clever’. There is also some solo stylish tapping, and every one adds to the performance at various times with their own instrument (guitar, banjo, clarinet, piano, percussion, and violin) to complement the backing track. Be under no misapprehension, these guys are genuinely talented, and you really want to hang out with them.
The show is held together by a narrative that is almost an elegy for the fading pub scene. We are told that scores of pubs are closing their doors every day, and with this there is a consequential loss in the aggregate of fellowship in our increasingly commercial and depersonalised global community. The narrative gives sense to the sequence of the songs and keeps the fourth wall well and truly down.
Again, The Choir of Man is a great wholesome night out, pure and simple. It reminds you that it is great to be alive.
When: 15 Feb to 15 Mar
Where: The Moa at Gluttony