FRINGE 2017 – Soweto Gospel Choir – The Panama Club, Royal Croquet Club – 4.5K

A lot of Fringe acts are unknown quantities – in buying tickets for a show, you are effectively taking a punt on whether the performance is going to be any good. But then there are some acts with such international clout and strong reputation preceding them that you know that the experience is going to be fantastic, come what may.

The Soweto Gospel Choir is one such group. Formed in 2002, the South-African based, Grammy-award winning troupe has toured internationally and performed in Adelaide on several previous occasions, always to enormous acclaim. And the 2017 Fringe Festival has proved to be no exception, with the audience enthralled from the very first, very high note.

Performing mainly traditional South African gospel and “freedom” songs, interspersed with English-language classics including “When the Saints go Marching In” and a unique version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, each member of the choir is highlighted with a spectacular vocal solo and, on several occasions, a very entertaining dance off. Perhaps I am the only person who amuses themselves, when watching choirs, by trying to identify the less strong performers in any event, a completely redundant exercise for this show, because every single member shone in their own right.

As to negatives – the show was far too short at only one hour, and I was disappointed by the lack of an encore. I’m considering going along at least one more time to get what I consider to be my fill of this sublime choir, or at least lobbying for them to stay on for WOMADelaide.

The Soweto Gospel Choir is a blaze of joyous glory, fabulous colour and uplifting entertainment. I challenge you to go along to this show and leave without a spring in your step and a smile on your face.



Leave a Reply