Review: Spooky Men's Chorale

Spooky Men's Chorale
King's and Queen's
Friday, October 12

Harmony and humour! Take these ingredients, a dozen and a-half Aussie blokes who can hold a tune, dress them in black - any style or shade of black, top with diverse head gear, then submit them to the direction of a "spookmeister" (Stephen Taberner) and you have the unpredictable and endearing Spooky Men's Chorale.

Ridiculous antics, deadpan facials, seemingly spontaneous gesticulations and asides predominated at the Spooky Men's Chorale concert.

These and a close vocal harmonic style are the essential elements of their performance, and the large receptive audience in King's and Queen's Performing Arts Auditorium last night was totally captivated. Taberner controlled the evening in a quiet, purposely low-key manner, by first issuing a "statement of intent" and then providing hilarious introductions and explanations to the songs, through pithy, nonsensical information, delivered with outstanding pseudo sincerity.

The repertoire consisted mainly of songs with ridiculously trite texts on all manner of mundane subjects, delivered with clear diction and purposely "slow" deliberation in interpretation, impeccably timed, with subtle body language enhancing every item.

A highlight was Ode to a Light Pole when shy, timid Ryan soloed up front with the spookmeister. These guys were champions at mime and delivery. The Affirmation of St Keven the Usual was ecclesiastical in style and delivery - sung from small prayer books, ending with a sublimely dissonant "Amen".

A "simple Swedish folksong" turned out to be a rather unauthentic Nordic rendition of ABBA's Dancing Queen and a passionate tight harmonic version of a Lennon-McCartney hit rewarded the final standing ovation.

Laughter and music are both wonderful medicines, and to get such a rich dose on one spoon promotes a total revitalisation.

These spooky men will sing again at 4pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday. Do not miss them.

- Elizabeth Bouman

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