The cast of the ‘Choir of Man’ performed a free-spirited tribute to friendship, music, dancing and drinking at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in downtown Logan on Jan. 8.
LOGAN – The one-night stand of the Choir of Man at the Ellen Eccles Theatre on Jan. 8 was a rowdy, free-spirited celebration of friendship, music, singing and dancing.
Oh, and drinking. The show was also definitely a tribute to drinking.
Not the sloppy kind of drinking that brings out the worst in people, but the kind that could bring nine wildly uninhibited friends – six Brits, two Irishmen and one lonely American — together to laugh, cry and sing.
Of course, you’d have to be phenomenally lucky to just happen to drop into a local hang-out where nine friends as talented as the Choir of Man cast were strutting their stuff. The audience here in Logan was certainly fortunate to be on hand for the debut performance of the 2022 U.S. tour of the Choir of Man and they rewarded its gifted performers with an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Those performers were Adam Bayjou (nicknamed the Hard Man), Jahlil Burke (the Pub Bore), Jordan Crouch (the Handyman), Aled Davies (the Joker), Conor Hanley (the Poet), Mark Irwin (the Romantic), Ollie Kaiper Leach (the Maestro), Joshua Lloyd (the Barman) and Ed Tunningley (the Beast).
Choir of Man is the brainchild of theatrical producers and performers Andrew Kay and Nic Doodson, who have previously collaborated on the popular musical reviews Noise Boys and Gobsmacked.
The show is also a reminder of the vital role that local gathering places like bars, pubs and restaurants play in the lives of communities, particularly during the now lingering coronavirus pandemic.
Choir of Man was an international hit, with separate touring companies performing the show in Great Britain, Australia and the United States from 2017 until the threat of COVID-19 ended those tours about 18 months ago.
The show’s set – simulating a typical English public house — normally includes a bar with a working beer tap. Audience members are usually invited on stage to share a pint with the cast.
Given Utah’s liquor laws, that didn’t happen here. Instead, the cast handed out root beer provided by Prodigy Brewing, a new local enterprise coming soon to Center Street.
The revived show’s music ranged from rhythm & blues to pop, rock and folk music tunes performed with amazing harmonics. The Choir of Man also featured storytelling, comedy, foot stomping, world-class tap dancing and poetry.
The show opened with a raucous rendition of the Guns n’ Roses hit “Welcome to the Jungle.”
Other show-stoppers in the Choir of Man included Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” (with Henley providing vocals and Crouch performing a spirited tap dance); Lloyd singing a hilarious version of the Rupert Holmes hit “Escape,” better known as the Piña Colada song; and an audience sing-along on the Proclaimers’ tune “I’m Gonna Be” (also known as “500 Miles”).
The Choir of Man was the first performance of the New Year in the Cache Valley Center for the Art’s 21-22 National Touring Season. The next feature in that line-up will be The Peking Acrobats on Feb. 10.
The Cache Valley Center for the Arts is an independent non-profit organization that promotes the use of Cache Valley’s publicly owned cultural arts facilities.
Those facilities include the Ellen Eccles Theatre, the Thatcher-Young Mansion and the Bullen Center