A musical escape with a few new mates
By Narelle Wood
To be honest when The Choir of Man started the show with a high-octane rendition of Welcome to the Jungle I was little concerned that the next 80 minutes would be a series of tropes reinforcing the lad-at-the-pub stereotype. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While there is something definitely familiar about these nine guys, what follows is a musical journey that explores the importance of community spaces, and the joy and support these spaces bring. Each of choir member brings a different character to the stage that adds a unique dimension to the unfolding story. Not to mention that these guys can really sing. As a result it feels as though you are sitting in a small pub, any where in the world having a drink with your mates, while listening to some brilliant tunes.
The songs themselves range from perhaps the more expected repertoire for a men’s choir of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Queen and Eagle Eye Cherry to some unexpected numbers from Adele, Katy Perry, Sia, and even a good Aussie rock ballad; it’s these songs that provide some of the most joyous and most poignant moments of the show. While most songs elicited laughter, clapping and sing-alongs, you could hear a pin drop during the rendition of Chandelier. The audience participation, something that can be awkward to watch, was so much fun and these guys seem to be experts in picking willing participants and making them feel at ease on the stage.
I haven’t commented much about the singing, because I’m not sure there are words to describe it. The musical arrangements and harmonies are nuanced and the ensemble so tight that the performance is flawless. Add to this the choreography the perfectly captures the pub environment and the mood of each of the songs, and you have a show that is not to be missed.
The Choir of Man are in Australia for the next four months and Melbourne until next week. This is their first run in Melbourne and hopefully not their last, but just in case it is, you want to make sure you get along and spend some time with these guys who can hold the audience’s attention just as well as they can hold a tune.
The Choir of Man are performing until 12th January. Tickets at www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/whats-on/2020/contemporary-music/the-choir-of-man