Warning: sexual references, coarse language, alcohol abuse
The Festival Statesmen Chorus return to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2019 with their second a cappella musical 'Choir Boys'. The award-winning Adelaide-based vocal ensemble performs hit songs, choreography and comedy in their new show. Directed by Mitre Khammash and written by Nick Munday, the show follows an all-male choir on tour and the shenanigans that occur when they decide to party the night before their competition. To read more about the show's creative team, you can read my interview with director Mitre Khammash and musical director John Khammashhere.
The show begins in soundcheck as the choir argues with a sound technician standing behind the crowd. Live from Tandanya's theatre space may be comparatively small but the production makes use of different areas throughout including the cast coming into the audience and the "sound technician" performing behind the audience. Although a few inside jokes may be best understood by fellow performers, most of the comedic remarks land well.
There are a few bumbles during the first song and dance as the gentlemen hit their marks, but the choreography became more confident as the show progressed. The story is told largely through monologues to begin and the acting of leads Trevor Anderson and Jono Webb is best when they interact with each other.
Considering the reputation of the Festival Statesmen Chorus it's no surprise the a cappella music always hits the right note. You can feel the crowd tapping their toes to favourites like Queen and Michael Jackson. The romantic songs make you want to give someone a cuddle and the sexy songs make you want to laugh.
Crowd favourite Brett Woolford steals the show as a very good drunk (minor role) including a brief monologue about lobsters and eye-catching meditation stretches.
The lead character Allan is very dramatic about a high school crush and before it can delve into clichι territory were taken to a strange situation with writer and performer Nick Munday at the helm of the kookiness. I won't give any more away.
The highlights of the show are the clever jokes, the music and the group dynamics. You really do see the fun personalities of the group shine through and the small space can barely contain the energy of the 22-strong cast.
It's a Seth Rogen all night comedy meets a cappella music without the excessive drug use and more consistent quality jokes. And what could make it more Australian than the appearance of a goonsack.
Tickets selling fast to 'Choir Boys' at the Tandanya Theatre so be sure to book here.