By Cassie Schauer, guest blogger
Raise a pint to pub culture! We joined the cast for a fun night of dance and song when the Choir of Man hit the stage at the Lone Tree Arts Center on Thursday night, February 21, 2019.
With the stage set as an actual working pub (complete with Lone Tree Brewing Company beer on tap), we were invited to grab a pint as the cast members (all from the U.K.) mingled with the audience sharing selfies, and laughs. Blurring the line between stage and audience continued throughout the performance. It kicked off with the 80s hair-band hit “Welcome to the Jungle” which played surprisingly well with a folksy, Celtic twist. The cast dashed through the audience, on top of the bar, around the tables, playing all manner of instruments. Denis, the narrator, invited us “to be present for tonight: dance, sing, laugh, join in!”
We were drawn into the camaraderie between the men as Denis presented each one in funny vignettes of song and dance. An astoundingly multi-talented cast of Irish actors and singers, the performers played the piano, guitar, banjo, accordion, drums, ukulele, bagpipes, and fiddle. They pounded on trays and crates, and clapped beer mugs together. As Denis was weaving his tales, the energy of the pub was swirling around him. The boys were chatting, arguing, mopping the floor, talking on the phone, and spinning on the bar stools.
Playing the fiddle and banjo while singing Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” they danced into the theater aisles, grabbing people from the audience to join them for a pint. Peter sang Katy Perry’s hit “Teenage Dream,” while staring longingly at his guest. As the song ended, she surprised him with a kiss on the cheek.
Andrew, “with the voice of Pavarotti, but dressed like an Agatha Christie character,” sang “The Impossible Dream” in a deep, rich tenor, while challenging his guest to build a card tower. The tower grew as the song crescendoed, and the rest of the crew joined in, topping the tower with a pint of beer and tossing cards at the audience.
“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” showcased Freddie’s tap dancing skills and featured a piano solo by Connor. As Denis joked, “the more you drink the better we sound and the better we look” he decried the loss of local pubs to make way for chain restaurants and bars.
In a break from the action, Tom sang Adele’s hit “Hello.” Cleverly presented in freeze frame, the cast stood in suspended animation as if they were watching their team on TV. Mark shared his love for his wife while singing “Pina Coladas” into a mop handle. The crew joined in with exaggerated hip swinging, a cheesy flute solo, and disco lights.
We sang along to “500 Miles,” dubbed as “Scotland’s Most Famous Song.” An acapella version of Sia’s “Chandelier” was sung under prism lights as if reflected off the baubles of a chandelier.
One of the funniest scenes featured Aidan facing us in front of a bank of urinals, relieving himself as he sang “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The other cast members joined in as the never ending “flow” splashed onto the stage.
As the performance began to wind down, Denis raised a pint to his mum, stating “don’t treasure the moments only when they are gone.” This lead to the Luther Vandross hit, “Dance with My Father,” with the emotional “dear lord, she’s dying to dance with my father again” tugging at our heartstrings.
As a final statement to the brotherhood of pub life, Denis proclaimed, “when I come through those doors I feel at home.” They ended with the traditional Irish goodbye song, “The Parting Glass,” embracing us on their first North American Tour. A funny, energetic, and joyful celebration!