Theatre review: The Choir
- Lorna Irvine
- 3 November 2015
Paul Higgins, Ricky Ross and Dominic Hill present energetic musical about a community choir
Choirs seem to be having something of a moment, with recent successes Glee and Gareth Malone's a cappella contest The Naked Choir. Now playwright Paul Higgins, known to many for his acting role in TV satire The Thick Of It , has collaborated with Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross, to create this drama about a community choir in Wishaw. With an ensemble of 12, it's quite an undertaking.
In spite of a slow start, it's best when dealing in simmering political tensions. All the good work done by affable choir leader Khalid (Peter Polycarpou) is undermined when quick-tempered working-class kid Scott (Scott Reid) debuts his clumsy rap about zero-hour contracts, to the obvious discomfort of Conservative, older couple Jean (Anne Kidd) and George (James Quinn). Debates about social mobility are blown open, and relationships, like that of mismatched Charlotte (Jess Murphy) and Darren (Sandy Nelson), falter.
Dominic Hill's direction of the cast is engaging, though issues are often shoe-horned into a slightly cliched 'everybody is a bit messed-up really' script. Ross' derivative, mawkish songs like ‘Most Of Me’ and ‘Everybody's Singing Now’ do little to make it feel contemporary. But the sense of belonging, and gorgeous harmonies throughout, make for an energetic, if uneven, production.