Image by Samantha Lazzaro

The Spooky Men’s Chorale (AKA The Spookies ) had a rapturous reception for their latest Sydney concert.   This was the 700th performance by the wildly popular chorale , formed in 2001 and based in the Blue Mountains , dynamically led by Stephen Taberner.      

.The concert was a mix of old favourites and some new songs with their trademark blend of mad male humour and social comment with fabulous voices inspired by the great Georgian male choirs among other things. Sixteen men in black – And the hats! (What those unfamiliar with The Spookies first notice is the blend of ages and sizes of the choristers and also the assortment of beards (or not) but mainly the wide rang of hats, from beanies to fur covered to pith helmets and and other . . . )                                        

Commenting on the difficulties of being a man in our current era, musically it ranged from ballads to church like Georgian music, a Sufi inspired Bee Gees tribute and everything in between. The performances are sly, witty, deadpan and include the unexpected and perhaps a trifle absurd. One needs to pay close attention to the witty, incisive lyrics – a wonderful combination of joyous silliness and exquisite beauty .There is also some tightly choreographed movement, at times.

The audience is also involved with for instance clapping along , and the dancing in the aisles at the end.

In no special order we heard among the following – the puzzled What’s Gonna Happen Now? with its witty lyrics ranged from showbiz to barbershop in style.

The stirring insistent , We are not a men’s group – a strong , delightful anthem.

Jim was an envious song in praise of Jim , with its bubbling undercurrents of melody and witty lyrics – how does he do it ?

There was the boisterous allusion to football and other club songs (The Universal Club Song) that was jaunty and bouncy with mad stylised actions , the choir pretending to play band instruments etc .

There was the sad, poignant and lyrical Tom Waites song Picture in a Frame .

A tumbling rumbustious full throated Georgian section of three songs was included with their infectious melodies.
The witty , ironic The Thing was an audience favourite

The Sweetest Kick was a mostly romantic wistful love song but also included yodelling and allusions to a rock star.

The evening officially concluded with Ba’hari Ghibb, a Sufi version of the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive , with the tall paper hats and choir members as whirling dervishes for example.

An ecstatic reception led to the encore Dance Me To The End Of Love which had the audience dancing in the aisles.

Running time – allow 150 minutes (roughly) including the interval.

The Spooky Men’s Chorale played at the Seymour Centre one performance only on 1st June 2019.

Production images by Samantha Lazzaro