The Choir Of Man

8 November 2019 | 1:35 pm | Sean Maroney

"'The Choir Of Man' is an extravaganza." Pic by Prudence Upton.

As you walk into the studio, you’ll break into a grin. There’s a wooden piano, a battered table and yellow glass with ‘Beer Wine Port’ emblazoned in olde English font. This isn't a set, we've stepped into a classic British pub. Cast and audience mill about in the pub together with the barkeep pouring beer after beer for the audience and choir, a tried and tested way to get a rollicking good show going.

Narrator Denis Grindel welcomes us to The Jungle, the pub that runs not around a dartboard or a pool table or the football (though of course football has its revered place at times) — but a choir. A choir with a penchant for a catchy tune that will make even the hardiest spectator swoon, sway their arms in the air or clap along. And if swooning from the audience isn’t enough, you might be drawn into the pub itself. Maybe the Pub Bore (Richard ‘Dickie’ Lock) will envelop you with his broad vocals while building a coaster castle with you. Maybe Beast (Peter Lawrence) will serenade you with a deep rendition of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Thankfully Jordan Oliver doesn’t strap a pair of tap shoes to an unsuspecting crowd member, instead inspiring with his own impressive stompers.

Put simply, The Choir Of Man is an extravaganza of multi-talented men who re-contextualise hits with their own playful versions and hit every beat (both comedic and musical) with panache. The pub narrative is a framework, if that. Think of the show more as a tableau - a freeze-frame of a utopian pub. A pub that knows being a man is about more than winning an arm wrestle. It’s about recognising a sense of community. This framing is sentimental and sweet, but the meat of the show is entirely in the value of its musical entertainment.