Upon entering Ice Cream Factory, the stage was filled with a mixture of performers and audience members who were queuing up to be served by Tom Gadie, the ‘pub’s’ bartender and The Choir of Man‘s secret sonic siren. Classic pub tunes, such as Toploader’s Dancing in The Moonlight, helped to establish the warm and friendly pub atmosphere that would persist throughout the show.
As the last drinks bell rung from centre stage, it became clear that this was, in fact, the signal to start the show. The audience members took to their seats, revealing an eclectically unified arrangement of classic pub art as decor.
The show opened with a whole cast rendition of Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses. This number was expertly performed, and really helped set the upbeat and boisterous tone of the night. An early standout was George Bray’s performance as the show’s narrator and naturally authentic storyteller.
A few wonderful tunes in and it was time for some good old fashioned audience participation. Amongst the joyfully embarrassed punters on stage was a lady that was the lucky recipient of the Beast’s (Ben Langridge’s) sensually enthralling cover of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.
Other highlights of the show included probably the most hilariously awkward rendition of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song ever witnessed, including Guy Salim’s tap dancing, and Tom Reade’s piano and trolling skills.
The second half of the show felt a little less engaging. Perhaps this was due to one too many of the songs having overly complex harmonies. The cast’s talent is indisputable, however, sometimes less is more when it comes to vocal arrangements. Having said that, the show’s finale was incredibly euphoric, and the inclusion of a proper classic folk ballad was superb.
Overall, the show was a highly uplifting and unifying experience, and seemingly hundreds of happy and genuinely enthusiastic patrons poured out of the venue satisfied. The moral power of this show is undeniable, and it’s highly recommended to get along while there is still time.
In a nutshell: The Choir of Man is a heartwarming night that celebrates the value of authenticity of self and living in the moment.