On a stage that’s decorated to resemble a cosily familiar, sticky-floored pub, nine men – a significant portion of them bearded – belt out popular songs while swigging pints and table-dancing. Choir of Man is dynamic, jovial, and – above all else – really bloomin’ fun.
Over the course of an hour, the stars of this extravaganza prove themselves capable of tackling a variety of genres. The nonet showcase a range of pop, rock, and a cappella numbers, all the while exhibiting an aptitude for harmonising. Each voice is powerful and consistently on-key, but the pitch-perfect nature of the vocals isn’t the only thing that seems to be keeping the audience thoroughly entertained. There are headstands, there are tap-dancers, and – appropriately, since this is the Fringe – there are bagpipes.
There’s also a fair amount of crowd interaction here. Free pints are handed out to some lucky ticketholders, while others are invited onstage to really get involved in the all-singing, all-dancing spectacle.
As it unfolds, Choir of Man demonstrates the camaraderie and the sense of togetherness that many pubs have a tendency to breed. But this show doesn’t seek to deliver any kind of moral lesson. It is, for all intents and purposes, a multi-instrumental, rich-voiced slab of escapism that wants to get you on your feet. It wants to get you smiling. It wants to get you singing along. Looking around the packed theatre, it’s pretty clear it succeeds.
Words: Morgan Laing
Choir of Man, Assembly Rooms, Aug 8-27 (not 14), 6.35pm