Choir politics prove to be worth singing about
By Myron My
A young girl sits on stage with her back to us. Her name is Susan (Sarah Collins) and she is desperate to join a choir. Again. This is the dark comedic story of a choir’s most dedicated member and the politics of community choral singing. This is Choir Girl presented by Attic Erratic and marks its return performance for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
What sets this comedy show apart from anything else you might see this festival is that Collins is accompanied by a 13-member all-girl choir live on stage. Dressed in very conservative outfits and with their hair tied back in tight buns it’s quite hilarious to see them launching into songs like “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” and the vocal highlight of the show “Hit Me Baby One More Time” when they get all sultry and as sexy as can be in their demure dresses. It’s a great comedic and narrative device using the choir as Greek chorus to help convey and commentate on Susan’s inner thoughts.
The narrative could have been quite confusing had it not been for the techniques and the skills Collins possesses for storytelling. It also says something about Collins’ wonderful stage presence that she can perform in front of 250 people on opening night and have everyone’s attention and yet be able to create a sense of intimacy in the large venue she’s performing in.
Some great lighting design is apparent throughout Choir Girl, including warming reds to show Susan’s “passionate” moments and the delicate use of the lonely spotlight at the end to impart a sense of vulnerability and humanity to her.
My only issue with the performance was that it did feel like it dragged just a little bit, where even shaving five minutes of the running time would have made a world of difference for pace and comic timing. However, Choir Girl is still a thoroughly entertaining show and it’s a nice change from the usual stand-up formula and familiar comedy shows on display this festival.
Venue: The Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall. Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne
Tickets: $23 Full | $20 Concession