REVIEW: THE CHOIR OF MAN (Arts Theatre)

The Choir of Man is the best trip to your local pub you’ll ever have!

Following three sell-out seasons at the Sydney Opera House and multiple sold-out US and European tours, The Choir of Man now brings its unique brand of beer, bants, and bangers to the Arts Theatre in the heart of London’s West End.

Featuring amazing reinventions of folk, pop, Broadway, and rock chart-toppers from artists including Guns ‘N’ Roses, Fun!, Adele, Avicii, Paul Simon, Sia, and many more. It’s a party, it’s a concert and it’s a lock-in like no other.

As you enter the theatre, you’re greeted by the cast and invited onstage to be served from their working onstage bar. As the cast joke, play card games, and stack plastic cups it’s clear you’re in for a very good time.

The West End premiere cast of nine are Sam Beverage as the Hard Man, Miles Anthony Daley (who made West End debut in Thriller Live) the Romantic, Matt Beveridge (The Choir of Man Sydney Opera House, USA Tour, Adelaide Festival, Titanic at Princess of Wales in Toronto) the Joker, George Bray (The Choir of Man at Sydney Opera House) the Maestro, Freddie Huddleston (original cast member of The Choir of Man, including US Tour, Edinburgh and Sydney Opera House) the Handyman, Richard Lock (Edinburgh, Sydney Opera House and US Tour of The Choir of Man) the Beast, Mark Loveday (original cast member of The Choir of Man, including US Tour, Edinburgh and Sydney Opera House) as the Barman, Ben Norris (the voice of Ben Archer in The Archers on BBC Radio 4) the Poet and Tyler Orphé-Baker (The Railway Children, King’s Cross Theatre) the Pub Bore.

As the show opens, Ben Norris as the Poet welcomes the audience makes sure we’ve all got a drink and introduces each cast member. Our Poet explains that some pubs have quizzes, some have darts clubs but The Jungle… has a choir. This sets the scene for the rest of the evening as the muti-talented cast entertains with stunning vocal arrangements by Jack Blume and invigorating choreography by Freddie Huddleston.

While Choir of Man may have no cohesive story, Ben Norris’s Poet monologues carry the evening along well with touching comments on masculinity, comradery, family, holding true to yourself and being stronger together. As the lads make their way through hit after hit, often picking up multiple instruments to join the band, the sheer energy of the cast is palpable and the audience catches on quickly with multiple mid-show standing ovations, cringe-worthy laugh out loud moments and plenty of chances to clap, whoop and sing along.

After multiple lockdowns, false starts and disappointments, Choir of Man is the perfect night out! Bursting at the seams with raw latent, powerful vocals and moving performances, grab a cheeky bevvy or two and get yourself down to The Arts Theatre to see the very special Choir of Man.

★★★★★

Reviewed by Stuart James