If you’ve been strolling about Adelaide city or anywhere near the East Terrace Parklands’ Gluttony Fringe venue, then you’ve probably seen the big ol’ posters advertising the show Choir of Man, in all its bright red printed glory.
The musical is set in a traditional British pub, where nine multi-talented characters have their time to act, sing and dance whilst supporting an underlying theme of men’s mental health. And although the message alone isn’t a laughable matter, the Choir of Man creates a space where comedy and a clever storyline mixed with legendary singalong tunes uplifts the subtle topic.
Making their debut here in February of 2018, the Choir of Man has grown to become one of the headline performances of the annual Adelaide Fringe – the biggest arts festival in the southern hemisphere. Further, the musical also has its well-deserved place on London’s West End where they received an Olivier Award Nomination, entertains crowds on cruise ships around the world, as well as touring America.
This year’s cast hailing from across England, Wales, Ireland and Scottland saw: Aled Pennock, Connor Going, David Shute, George Knapper, Ifan Gwilym-Jones, James Hudson, Joshua Lloyd, Mike Riseley, Richard Lock, and Tom Brandon take to the open-air Faintail stage in Gluttony.
The role of ‘the poet’ in this season’s Choir of Man was portrayed by Connor Going, who shares that, “Adelaide is obviously a stunning part of the world; but really the chilled lifestyle, delicious food and charming locals always make it such a joy to return. I’ve been lucky to enjoy some wonderful experiences here with some truly fantastic people, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart.”
We chatted to the 2023 Adelaide Fringe, Choir of Man troupe about their favourite things that South Australia has to offer, and without further ado, here are eight highlights that the UK cast love about our home, Adelaide.
1. Breakfast sandwiches
Who would’ve thought – one of Adelaide’s top-tier attributes are breakfast sandwiches. That’s according to David Shute who plays the role of ‘the joker’ up on the big stage; but this time, we don’t think he’s messing around. “Breakfast sandwiches are the saddest thing in the UK, but here they are elevated to greatness,” David shares. Two spots in particular that produce the early morning goods are Exchange Specialty Coffee and Penny University, both tucked in Adelaide’s East End – they’re a must in David’s book when visiting the city.
2. The proximity of natural beauty to the city
It’s no secret that Australia is jam-packed with plenty of natural beauty, but here in Adelaide, we really don’t have to venture far at all to witness some dope greenery, hilly sights, and shimmery blue beaches. Choir of Man’s poet, Connor Going is no stranger to our state, having first visited when the musical initially headed Down Under in 2018, and it’s our state’s raw charm that really does it for the vocal wordsmith. “I love how much natural beauty is built into the city. Plus, the fact Adelaide has got stunning national parks and beaches half an hour out is incredible,” Connor shares.
Speaking of natural beauty that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the city centre – South Australia is home to a number of world-renowned wine regions that not only boast delightful drops, but sweeping views across luscious vineyards and beyond. Whilst exploring Adelaide’s surrounds, the Choir of Man cast all headed a 40-minute drive southward to the famed McLaren Vale, where Tom Brandon who plays ‘the hardman’ fell for Mollydooker Wines. While ‘the pub bore’, Aled Pennock highly vouches for K1 Wines in the southern Adelaide Hills’ Kuitpo locale. While the trusty ‘barman’, Joshua Lloyd recommends, “the ones with wine.”
The brunch scene in Adelaide has truly boomed in the past couple of years, with fabulous little nooks popping up all over the joint. It’s hard to know where to go at times, with the endless options and all that, but the group have narrowed down their favourite brunch spots to three top picks during their four-week stay. Peter Rabbit in the city’s West End made the cut, along with Bloom in Thebarton which is well-known for its banging plant-based fare, and The Flying Fig in North Adelaide; with Ifan Gwilym-Jones who plays ‘the maestro’ commenting that, “brunch is excellent everywhere.” Check out our list of the best brunch cafes in Adelaide, as voted by your fellow South Aussies.
5. Glenelg Beach
Along the coastline to the south-west of Adelaide, you’ll find the picturesque neighbourhood of Glenelg, along with its simply stunning beachside precinct and acclaimed Jetty Road. Here you’ll find a plethora of eateries, laid-back pubs, boutique retail, waterside bike paths and walkways, a big old Ferris wheel with oceanic views, romantic dining venues, and even an amusement centre with waterslides, rides, and arcade games, namely The Beachouse. Choir of Man’s ‘handyman’, George Knapper who ever-so cleverly taps his way about the stage reckons that Glenelg is, concisely put, “lovely.”
6. The coffee scene
Adelaide has long been known for its food and wine, and evidently those aspects are a highlight when it comes to discovering Adelaide’s best qualities, but what about its coffee? Luckily for us morning brew addicts, there are a bunch of cracking cafes pouring top-quality coffee. There are some that roast their own beans, others that offer multiple beans, and most giving multiple extraction methods of said beans to choose from.
And although there is a good deal of ‘Instagrammable’ cafes in Adelaide, Richard Lock who fulfills ‘the beast’ character on the grandstand says that coffee shops with “chilled vibes” are the way to go. “Day time we get to chill, and Adelaide does excellent chill,” Richard notes. James Hudson who shared the role of ‘the beast’ this year along with his responsibility as music captain, whole heartedly agrees in the realm of coffee scene gloriousness in Adelaide, with another pointer towards Exchange Specialty Coffee.
7. Morialta Conservation Park
Circling back to natural beauty that is in close proximity to Adelaide’s city centre; a mere 10 kilometres north-east of the CBD lies Morialta Conservation Park. The protected area is a mecca for gorges, waterfalls, and woodlands where walkers, hikers, rock climbers, and mountain bikers alike can bask in the sensational recreational escape. Atop the peak you’ll find “awesome views,” reckons ‘maestro’, Ifan Gwilym-Jones.
8. The people
Last, but not least when it comes to attractive aspects of Adelaide are the people, ‘barman’ Joshua Lloyd observes. In a place where the sun shines consistently throughout a solid quarter of the year; where fresh air rolls in softly from across the sea; and where the city is on the compact side of things; it’s easy to see where the lax South Australian zest derives from. With Joshua stating that we are “all so chill.” Check out our list of eight extraordinary places in and around Adelaide that make us feel lucky to live here.