Sunday 21st October

Advertise | Login  RSS  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Miles Jupp and Friends’ Comedy Gala in aid of ‘The Choir With No Name’

| Comedy, Festivals, Music, Venues | 07/04/2016

Miles Jupp Ⓒ Hannah Goodwin.
Miles Jupp Ⓒ Hannah Goodwin.
Rating:

By Cora Robertson

What’s on London joined Miles Jupp and friends, together with The Choir with No Namefor an uplifting night of fundraising comedy and music last week at the Union Chapel in Islington.

Compered by the very funny and cantankerous Jupp, the evening featured an impressive line-up of comedic talent: Seann Walsh (Mock The Week), Sarah Kendall (Russell Howard’s Good News), Perrier Award Winner Justin Edwards (The Thick of It), singing comedian Jess Robinson (Dead Ringers), performance poet John Hegley and special guest Josh Widdecombe (Josh, The Last Leg).

But the true highlight was seeing and hearing the choir itself, and learning about the difference its existence has made to its members.

CNN-58

Food nightmare: Seann Walsh Ⓒ Hannah Goodwin.

Let’s start with the comedy, because the veritable roll-call of British comics deserves it.

We had Miles Jupp ranting about trains – all Boris Johnson’s fault apparently – and Seann Walsh confessing to food shopping nightmares, before the night took a musical theme.

As many will already know, the Union Chapel – befitting a gothic church and performance space – has great acoustics, making it a perfect venue for serious – and less serious – musicians to perform in.  And whilst it’s still used for religious services, thankfully the church has a relaxed approach to grown up comedy.

CNN-55

Jess Robinson touches bass Ⓒ Hannah Goodwin.

With this liberalism in mind, John Hegley led a surreal song and dance about a guillemot, and Justin Edwards sang a slightly rude ditty about the time he seduced a librarian.

But perhaps the most memorable comedy performance was Jess Robinson, who belted out Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass in the style of Julie Andrews.

And it’s hard to forget Sarah Kendall’s very funny story about what she got up to whilst watching Jaws 3, which seemed even ruder told in a church.

Ultimately though, the jokes were outshone by The Choir with No Name, a charity that runs musical groups in London, Birmingham and Liverpool for people affected by homelessness.  The choir meets once a week and sing a mixture of rock, pop, gospel, reggae, musicals and much more.

When you think of all the possible things homeless people need, a choir maybe isn’t that high on your list.  But we heard from Adel Tuzani (a former member of the choir) about the extraordinary impact it had on his life: giving him a rare chance to sing, make friends and be part of a community.

CNN-48

The Choir With No Name: friends and community Ⓒ Hannah Goodwin.

And this isn’t a gimmick: the choir performed David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac with a joy and energy which was contagious, and rightly earned them a standing ovation.

Then there was a chance for the audience to have a go.

I was sceptical about taking part, as I have a voice that’s been compared to a cat being strangled.  But our choir leader managed to lead us through a harmonisation and the finished result was surprisingly tuneful.

The experience of harmonising and dancing with a group was a powerful one, and showed me exactly why the singers value the choir so much.  For a few minutes, I was able to forget my own troubles and be part of something much bigger.

My advice: if you get the chance to see the choir in action, don’t hesitate!

You can find out more about The Choir With No Name, including their gig schedule at www.choirwithnoname.org or text SING to 70300 to donate £3.  Follow the choir on Facebook or on Twitter @ChoirwithNoName.  

You can see what else is on at the Union Chapel at http://www.unionchapel.org.uk.  There’s simple homemade food for £8.50 to be eaten in the bar and mugs of tea with biscuits in the kiosk downstairs (bring cash as they don’t accept cards).  All profits are used to improve the venue and support its charitable work.

Seen this? What did you think? Add your comments below...

You must be logged in to post a comment.