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Cheers to The Choir of Man in Melbourne

Choir of Man Melbourne
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The Choir of Man’s highly anticipated debut on January 5 at Arts Centre Melbourne hints at a sensational run, building on the production’s previous success in London’s esteemed West End.

The show invites audiences to step into “The Jungle”, a captivating local haunt that becomes your own for the night, resembling that of a traditional British pub complete with saloon doors and a working timber bar to enjoy a pint with the cast before taking your seat.

Created by Nic Doodson and Andrew Kay, The Choir of Man serenades audiences with a stellar soundtrack of pub anthems, rock classics and pop hits; from Guns N’ Roses and Paul Simon, to Katy Perry and Adele.

Throughout the course of the night, you’ll get to know each member of the nine-bloke choir, and soon realise that the show is about more than just song and beer.

“A big part of the show is finding the extraordinary in the ordinary,” Rob Godfrey said, who plays the character of the Beast.

“You go to most shows and they’re fantastical stories celebrating these extraordinary feats, but this is just people in a pub having fun – that’s ordinary, but there’s something extraordinary that comes from that.”

Although the Beast “looks like the kind of guy you wouldn’t want to mess with”, as the show goes on, audiences soon discover that beneath his tough exterior lies a “complete softy”.

“When I did the audition, they read out the description of the Beast and it was annoyingly accurate – I don’t have to act, I'm as soft as anything,” he said.

Not only is there no need for the cast to don their characters, but it’s clear that the enthusiasm and excitement in their performance is also genuine.

“No one’s faking it,” Mr Godfrey told Southbank News.

“It does genuinely feel like when we’re doing it that there’s not really much acting involved – you get up on the stage and just have fun, and it feels like we’re just going out together every night.”

When asked what makes The Choir of Man unique to other musical offerings, Mr Godfrey says that the level of audience participation is “different from a lot of other shows”, keeping things “alive and fresh” for the cast each night.

“When you invite an audience member on stage and make them a huge part of the show, anything could happen – it keeps it exciting for us because some of the reactions we get make it really hard to sing through and try not to laugh.”

While singing The Voice by John Farnham has undeniably been one of the cast’s favourite songs to perform in Australia so far, Mr Godfrey said that their acapella performance of Sia’s Chandlier was a “special moment” for him.

“You’ve been running around, jumping off tables and singing these loud songs, but then we can lock in as a choir and it’s sort of a moment just for us, it’s an amazing feeling,” he said.

In addition to being an infectiously fun and immersive night-out, the show also touches on topics such as men’s mental health and the importance of celebrating community and togetherness.

“There’s some really beautiful speeches about pubs and what they mean to us, but I think sometimes you have all the excitement of the music and then maybe not digest the words,” Mr Godfrey said.

“The speeches written by Ben Norris are absolutely stunning, they really do resonate with people when you touch into it.”

The Choir of Man will run at Arts Centre Melbourne until February 11.

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