When I walked in to a packed out Finger’s Piano Bar I was greeted with the site of Mister Meredith affably talking to his punters, handing out paper and pens personally, and establishing a rapport by breaking down the barriers between performer and audience. He very much takes on the role of pub quizmaster first and foremost.
Meredith ekes every ounce of potential from his straightforward concept.
Meredith introduces the show in much the same way as he writes its blurb: “Welcome to Singalonga Pub Quiz. It’s a sing-along pub quiz.” The format, unsurprisingly, involves Meredith playing 20 well known songs on the piano, while encouraging the audience to sing along, and intercutting each track with a quiz question or two. He prompts the audience to join in with him as he sings well selected classics that manage to appeal to all generations and creeds, covering the topics of traditional, musical, post-1960s and Disney.
Now, it’s commonplace for a reviewer to disregard the audience and exclusively assess what happens on stage. But with this format, the entire venue is Mister Meredith’s stage, and it is his responsibility to dictate the quality of the audience, and so this review will break that rule. Today’s audience was a solid five star. From the moment he opens with Do-Re-Mi, the entire room is singing. They erupt in applause when he has seemingly done nothing. But he has. He has created that atmosphere and set the tone for the night. Before the first round is finished, people are spontaneously clapping, swaying with their arms around each other, interacting with strangers, and pointing to the sky at the pinnacle of choruses.
The songs are selected painstakingly to allow for scope and universal singalongability, devoid of crowd-splitters, and the question writing has a range of difficulty and interestingness, embellished with gags and trivia that only a highly experienced and proficient quizmaster could adequately discriminate. His musical repertoire is clearly, vast as he boasts that the songs and questions change every day, giving the show a real repeat viewing appeal.
Meredith is a top quality pianist, and while he hasn’t been blessed with the voice of an angel, he can certainly hold a tune, and it fits his persona perfectly as he joyously belts out each number, sounding like he could easily be ‘one of us’. Don’t expect a prize worth any more than a nice memory, this is PBH’s Free Fringe and entry to this quiz costs less here than it does down your local. By its very nature, the sing-along quiz is not going to appeal to everybody, but if it sounds like it might be up your street then rest assured, Meredith ekes every ounce of potential from his straightforward concept. Want a fun and intellectually stimulating hour? Get your thinking cap on, go armed with a funny team name, prepare to contribute to the electric atmosphere, and sing your little heart out.