The Choir of Man

Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Arts Theatre, London
Cast: Matt Nalton, Jordan Oliver, Matt Thorpe, Michael Baxter, Owen Bolton, Denis Grindel, Gavin Ryan, Mark Irwin and Sam Ebenezer

Welcome to THE CHOIR OF MAN, the best pub in the world... Come ready to drink in the excitement! An uplifting celebration of community and friendship with something for everyone - including free beer! 

Brimming with hits from artists such as Queen, Luther Vandross, Sia, Paul Simon, Adele, Guns & Roses, Avicii and Katy Perry to name but a few, this is a pub like no other! A wildly talented group of incredible instrumentalists, world-class wordsmiths, and sensational singers; this cast of nine (extra)ordinary guys serve it all... live! 

I'd heard so many good things about this production, so I was very excited to pay my first visit to The Jungle. The Jungle is a local pub where everyone is welcomed with open arms and you're invited to pull up a chair and join the cast of 9 incredibly talented male performers in a 90 minute celebration. Filled with singing, dancing, tap dancing, audience participation...and drinking

From the moment you enter the theatre, the venue has been transformed. The walls are lined with framed photos of the cast, that looks suitably like the walls of your local pub. The stage is now the heart of a pub, where you can even buy tokens to grab a pint onstage before the show begins! I'd advise getting to the theatre 30 minutes before the show begins so you can settle into the atmosphere of the show, and interact with the cast beforehand - it's such a wonderful idea.

The music in this show is diverse and uplifting. No matter what era you were born in, there's something for everyone's music tastes. From Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses, to Teenage Dream by Katy Perry, to Dance with my Father by Luther Vandross; it's varied and inclusive. My favourite numbers of the night were The Impossible Dream (sung by Matt Nalton, who has one of the most gorgeous voices I've ever heard), Somebody to Love (sung by Gavin Ryan) and You're the Voice (sung by Mark Irwin). There were songs that had you on your feet and others that left you feeling choked up.  

While the music is fantastic, the core of this show is the nine extremely talented men on stage. If it wasn't for their mics, I wouldn't have been able to tell who were audience members and who were cast members. They look suitably ordinary; however, they are anything but! A mention must go to Jordan Oliver's sensational tap dancing. Tap isn't something I've ever seen on stage, but Jordan's performance was completely mesmerising. As well as singers, they're also all incredible instrumentalists (is there anything these men can't do?!).

Another aspect I loved were the nicknames given to each cast member. We had the Maestro, the Romantic, the Beast, the Hardman, the Barman, the Bore, the Poet, the Handyman and the Joker. This makes it easy to identify and connect with at least one cast member's story. Naturally, I was instantly drawn to the Bore! 

While the story is very much just a night in the pub (with free beer, beer mats and crisps given throughout to select audience members!), there's also important themes laced within the show. One of them being mental health in men, and the significance of men finding somewhere they can call home and talk openly with friends. Whether it be a simple chat about football, or about more serious issues, this theme was explored so beautifully, and at a time where it's needed most.

The atmosphere of The Choir of Man is one of the greatest I've ever experienced. You feel like you're out for the night with a few hundred new friends! It's uplifting, feel-good and I can't wait to make my next visit to The Jungle. I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy the show - but it's shot straight to one of my favourites of 2022

You can book tickets to see The Choir of Man at the Arts Theatre, London until February 2023, here.

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