The Choir

Citizens Theatre

Glasgow

24 Oct 2015 to 14 Nov 2015

 ****

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Written by Paul Higgins, who has played Avery in the Glasgow movie Red Road of 2006 as well as portraying Jamie in The Thick of It, his brand-spanking new musical The Choir confronts the problems and joys of community projects. It has taken three years in development from conception to reality and has truly been worth the effort. Higgins, who hails from Wishaw originally, is adept at using humour as a way of asserting his characters. The music was penned by Ricky Ross, lead singer of Deacon Blue, & every song is new and is performed with an infectious & poignant, heart-warming passion. It is hard not to tap your feet to the beat and why shouldn’t you? The Choir will warm the cockles of the hearts of grannies, parents and teenagers alike who can all relate to the shenanigans.This comes down the the diversity of characters, from a Baghdad heart consultant to an dippy yet lovable Oxford student (who loves how Scottish people say, ‘but’ at the end of a sentence) to a Facebook stalker – or is he?

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The cast of twelve are too numerous to mention, but it is fair to say that between them they have most of the most of the soap operas collectively under the belts not to mention a fair smattering of Hollywood in the form of Oklahoma, Evita, Sweeney Todd and Rob Roy. The scene between cousins Donny and Scott who are both arguing over Velia while she visits the loo is comedy gold with Scott asking Velia whom she would prefer, ‘ A tall dark handsome guy or a wee Jimmy Johnson lookalike?

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Funny throughout, you will laugh at the patter, as each member of this community choir pick a song that reflects their personality. Solidarity and socio – political tensions and zero hour contracts are explored between the cacophony of voices that ultimately all get aired. Peter Polycarpou who plays Khalid, the Choir leader shared his thoughts on first reading the script,

‘For me the best writing is something that leaps up and grabs you from the start. Loss and grief and the passage of time. That first page really had me hooked…there’s something unique about The Choir.’

As did actor Scott Reid, ‘It’s nice to have a platform to show the real struggles. These four kids, they’re bright but they don’t have a lot of hope. It highlights that the community can put down your ambitions’

It was an added bonus to chance upon actors Ryan Fletcher and Scott Reid outside after the performance. When asked their favourite work thus farm Ryan cited west-end production Once as his best recent work and Scott, The Maids but said how much The Choir was, ‘up there’. I think you will find it up there too as a highlight of the theatrical calendar and one that the Citz acclaimed Director Dominic Hill and everyone involved should be more than proud of.

Libretto three-stars
Stagecraft four-stars  
Performance five-stars

Reviewer : Clare Crines

four-stars

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