One thing us Brits hold dear is the pub – and The Choir of Man is a love letter to it.

You may believe you are queuing to enter the Assembly Hall, but what you are entering is The Jungle, not an auditorium. The Assembly Hall’s auditorium has been revamped into The Jungle, a local pub which is open for punters until the end of August. This is the kind of pub where everyone knows everyone, and you’ll soon feel part of the local crowd.

As soon as you enter, the cast members are interacting with the audience, playing instruments, and pouring pints. You can even go up on stage for a pint of lager if that takes your fancy.

The Choir of Man premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, and now after a West End run and tours around the globe, it’s back, with some new cast members in tow. Returning from the West End run is George Bray in the role of Maestro and Richard Lock in the role of Beast. The Poet, played by Conor Hanley, gives some heartfelt monologues throughout the performance, which adds emotion to the show, allowing the characters within it to be fully dimensional and authentic.

This is a jukebox musical, and before you groan and judge it, in this setting it works extremely well. The musical numbers are multi-layered with pitch perfect harmonies throughout. From Adele’s ‘Hello’ to The Proclaimer’s ‘500 Miles’, the numbers have the audience in the palm of the hand of the incredibly talented cast. And singing along to ‘500 Miles’ is encouraged.

Throughout the performance, audience interactions are included, with many members of the audience entering The Jungle and having a drink with the cast as they sing, sometimes directly to them.

The West End production has been slimmed down to fit a one-hour slot, but everything great about the show remains. The cast play instruments, with backing from a four-piece band, and the tap dance number by Handyman, Adam Hilton is as impressive as ever.

The Choir of Man is the ultimate happy hour. The show touches on many topics including male mental health and togetherness. In moments within the show the effects of COVID and lockdown on pubs are spoken about, an important message for them to highlight using the platform they have. Expect stompy, toe-tapping tunes, a heartfelt message and to leave with a smile on your face. It’s simply impossible to watch this show without a grin from ear to ear, it’s the ultimate feel-good show and one of the most polished shows at the Fringe – not surprising considering its West End run. So, stop by for a pint, you won’t regret it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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