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The Choir of Man | The Arts Theatre

Do you like Pina Coladas? And getting caught in the rain? If so (or even if you don’t), you will have no choice to not just like, but love The Choir of Man. Laughter, tears, killer vocals, goosebump inducing harmonies and a well pulled pint. This list is only a tiny fraction of what you can expect at the Arts Theatre when sitting down for this spectacular show. 

The stage is dressed as a wonderfully simple yet immediately engaging local pub. With its battered bar stools and bright stained glass windows, it instantly takes you to a place you know you have been before in your lifetime, providing you with an instant warm feeling of home. The pub in question is aptly named: The Jungle, which makes abundant sense the second the incredible cast of 9 walk onto the stage, along with the incredible 4 piece band who are heavily featured both above and on the stage. Instantly, you are hit with an array of insanely tight vocals and unshakeable harmonies, alongside the outstanding narration from The Poet, expertly played by Michael Hamway

Hamway’s way of weaving anecdotes and carefully curated spoken word in between the show stopping musical numbers is not one to be missed. The cast all use their own names within the show, along with some of their own personal stories and background. This is once again effortlessly injected into the show by Michael Hamway and makes the show feel even more personal. 

This rest of the incredible cast is made up of Michele Benvenuto as the Maestro, Adam Bayjou as the Hardman, Ben Goffe as the Handyman, Mark Irwin as the Barman and Tom Miles as the beast. On this particular evening, Peter Lawrence played the Bore, Sam Ebenezer played the Joker and James Hudson played the Romantic, showing that swings are the beating heart of musical theatre by effortlessly jumping into the roles as though they were a second skin and bringing the roof down multiple times. 

Some extra special standout moments were James Hudson’s solo number, “Hello” by Adele which left every single hair stood on end. This number was performed with insane emotion and vocal control, making it nothing short of a show stopping performance. This performance went hand in hand with Ben Goffe’s incredibly tap solo within Paul Simon’s “50 ways to leave your lover.” 

The evening was doubly notable as not only did this performance mark The Choir of Man spending a whole year on the west end (and rightly so!), this performance fell on World Mental Health Day. I personally cannot think of any better show to watch on a day that raises so much incredibly important awareness surrounding mental health as from start to finish, this musical shows the simple importance of sitting down with a mate over a pint and talking. Whether you express your feelings through belting Luther Vandross (again, gorgeously done by Michael Hamway or simply crave being in a safe environment like The Jungle, surrounded by the people that love you the most, The Choir of Man leaves you with a beautiful feeling of knowing you’re not alone. As the Poet so wonderfully says, “this isn’t a leave it outside place or a boys don’t cry place.”

The Choir of Man is nothing short of spectacular and we should all anticipate the celebration of many more years in the West End. The Choir of Man is currently scheduled to play at The Arts Theatre until the 19th February 2024. for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | written by Reece | photography provided by PR


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