Spooky Men's Chorale

The Spooky Men's Chorale are perhaps the world's least famous international superstars. The Australian group of male singers perform to a large and loyal core of fans, at music festivals, in regional arts centres, theatres and churches in many different countries. They claim to be the remnants of a mystical ritual in the smoky Australian mountains. In fact, they're actually just a load of really nice, and supremely talented blokes with a good number of impressive beards and a fair few silly hats between them. On previous British tours I've seen the Spooky Men turn their audience into a flash mob and invade small towns. I've seen them do the entirety of Queen’s Flash Gordon theme song with only their voices and toy laser guns. I've heard about secret gigs and late night vigils. They have caused mayhem. But in this show, despite a performance as accomplished as ever, there is something about their act that comes over tame and perhaps even hesitant – they simply don't show off enough.Part of the problem is a lack of new, original material. Their core numbers are much the same as they have been for years; a few Georgian chants, some fantastically arranged pop covers and many of their own creations, which tend to give awesome vocal treatment to a plethora of mundane and hum-drum topics such as beard trimming and the beguiling luminescence of a lamp post. However, much of it no longer feels fresh, despite its undeniable quality.It is still an enjoyable show, filled with warmth and humour and goes down incredibly well with the crowd, some of whom give them a standing ovation. Their tender rendition of the traditional ballad The Parting Glass – one of my favourite songs – is a particular highlight. If you've never seen these guys before, they are certainly worth a watch. In one of their much-loved choruses they hit their pose of 'pointless grandeur' and boast 'we will be magnificent' – and I suspect, if they return to the Fringe one day, with a few new songs, they could well be.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

The Girl with the Hurricane Hands (and Other Short Tales of Woe)

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

★★
Traverse Theatre

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?)

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Droll

★★★★
Summerhall

The Castle Builder

★★★
Summerhall

4D Cinema

★★★★★

The Blurb

Hairier, bigger, better, stupider, Spooky Men’s Chorale have hammered delirious festival audiences throughout the UK, Australasia with a devastating blend of dropdeadpan stupidity, magnificently cavernous manchords, hapless beauty: a vast, rumbling, black clad, steam powered behomoth. www.spookymen.com.au.