Sunday, March 25, 2018

THE CHOIR OF MAN


The Flamingo at Gluttony, Tue 20 Feb

There was already a lot happening on and around the stage as the audience shuffled in to the venue for the Choir of Man. It seems we’ve entered a pub, and it’s bustling with activity. Some people are ushered to the fully functioning bar to get a drink, and the show begins.
The Choir of Man are nine men welcoming you to their local. We are introduced to all of them in turn – the talker, the dreamer, the womaniser – time is taken to sketch out a little of each of our guests. This is a pub where you will not be a stranger. If you come for a drink you can sit in silence, talk your head off, or just chew the fat, but you will not be alone.
Most of the musical material is not unaccompanied. Each of our hosts take turns in leading the next song, often accompanied by guitar, piano, ukulele or other instrument. While this adds great variety to their arrangements it also presents some staging problems. It’s always difficult to balance multiple moving sounds in a tent but as engaging and joyful as they were, the songs with instruments didn’t showcase their vocals well enough – I wanted the voices louder. In the unaccompanied pieces their voices rang out loud and true and showed how they good they are.
The Choir of Man has other things to say apart from their music. Don’t sit with your woes alone, don’t keep things bottled up inside. Share your feelings, and if it’s your turn to listen, then listen. “When the choir is working well it’s because we are listening.”
If you’re lucky you’ll be one of many audience members who scored free beers (yes – they give away free beer!)
The show just got better and better as it went. A great communal vibe, lots of positive energy, and infectious music. Go and spend some time with the Choir of Man. You’ll go home feeling much better.

(This review also published in The Clothesline.)

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