The Choir Of Man - Arts Theatre, London

 Nothing beats a night out at the pub. Spending time with friends, talking about your lives and the worries you might be having, whilst celebrating the achievements of others all over a drink or two. There's something so quintessentially British about it, and The Choir Of Man perfectly captures the true warmth and spirit of it in their fantastic show. 

Having taken the Edinburgh Fringe by storm, a residency at the Arts Theatre, London, and a visit across the pond, this show is making waves and truly winning the hearts of the world. To be honest, it's fast becoming one of my favourite shows and one that never fails to put a smile on my face. 

Based in a fictional pub called The Jungle, you are introduced to a group of men who have formed a mens pub choir, a bit different from the usual darts or football team. With each character having a completely different background to the other, you slowly realise that the building they inhabit each evening is something that bonds them in a way that allows them to lean on each other and open up in a way that they may never have been able to before. 

Upon entering the theatre you are thrown right into the throws of things. With a working bar on set, you are invited up to have drinks with the cast, mingle on stage, and really get into the celebratory spirit. Throughout the show there are opportunities for audience members to join the cast on stage, for drinks to be passed around, and for the audience to sing along, take photos and videos throughout. It feels like more of a celebration than a musical and completely blurs the lines between a concert and a musical. It's truly something completely different to what you have ever seen before in a show. 

The show is set to an incredibly eclectic soundtrack that is supported by a live band who join the cast on stage throughout the show, feeling like an extension of the actors. Featuring songs such as Teenage Dream, Some Nights, Chandelier, and Bring On Tomorrow, you can't help but clap along, dance in your seat and leave with the biggest smile on your face. Whilst you feel that this is a constant party, there is moments of sincerity and reflection and the acapella version of the shanty song The Parting Glass is something that truly gives me goosebumps each time I see it sung. The blend of vocals is incredible and so effortlessly perfect that you will be certain to love the show.

What I think is special about The Choir of Man is the way that the characters are set up. Each having their own name rather than a stage name, but a nickname to give you an idea about they type of person they are. From the Hardman who might come across as a brute but is a softie at heart, to the Romantic who just wants to find true love, each character has a story to tell and a song to tie them to The Jungle. Leading the pack is the Poet, a true master of words that brings the group together in harmony. I've seen this show countless times with an array of cast, and can truly say that no one cast has been better than the other. With each cast member adding their own unique twist on the role they play. 

Whilst the show celebrates everything about the fun of coming together, it also reflects on the important subject of mens mental health, with money raised for the charity CALM. The show flips it head on stereotypes of men in pubs and pub culture and truly celebrates how these buildings around UK can truly bring people together for good. The Choir of Man is a show that is like nothing you have seen before and is everything that is good in a 90 minute show. It whisks you away and leaves you with a huge grin on your face and wishing you could go back in for one more round. And I honestly cannot wait to go back to the Jungle again!

On at the Arts Theatre, London until the end of Sept 2024, you can book tickets at the following link:

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