Thursday, May 21, 2015

Voca People @ The New Alex Theatre, Wednesday 20th May 2015

Okay, quick question, how many Israel-based a cappella/beat boxing groups that claim to come from outer space (the Planet Voca no less, it’s hidden just behind the sun if you fancy a weekend away...I’m pretty sure Ryanair go there) can you name? I’ll give you a few minutes. Nope? Still nothing? That in itself is probably enough of a reason to catch VocaPeople if you get the chance. And that’s before they sing a single note.

The basic proposition is pretty simple, eight vocalists who cover a huge variety of well known songs using just their voices instead of instruments (who knows, maybe they were all nicked out of their spaceship whilst gigging on Mars...they’ll nick anything those Martians). Clad all in white but sporting bright red lipstick (that goes for the male Voca People too) they clearly share a little DNA with the Blue Man Group and I’m guessing the plan is to have numerous incarnations performing across the world...and universe if things go really well.

In this show the Voca People have crash landed on earth and their spaceship has run out of energy. Sadly the local BP garage can’t help (probably for the best, I’m not sure what Voca People would make of Ginsters Pasties) but they’ve discovered that earth music creates energy. Hurrah! That’s as good an excuse as they need to run through brief snippets of some of music’s greatest hits, everything from Nirvana’s Come As You Are through to the theme from the Godfather  (trust me, you’d send an i-Pod into meltdown if you tried to get it to play this many tracks in a couple of hours). In fact if you’re looking for a musical education this show’s not a bad place to start as they not only run through the various pitches of the human voice but also the evolution of mankind and music itself, and all this in a matter of minutes (hmmm, maybe the nation’s youth should be taught by Voca People, it would certainly make trigonometry a lot more fun).

Comedy and audience participation’s a huge part of the show and if you’re anywhere near the front there’s a reasonable chance that you’ll be involved at some point in proceedings. One of the female Voca People took a particular shine to me (clearly Specsavers don’t have a branch on Planet Voca yet) and I ended up doing unspeakable things on stage with her. What all of this will do for intergalactic relations I have no idea, but if we’re invaded by the Voca Army anytime soon you know who to blame.

Strip away the make-up and humour though and quite clearly all the Voca-lists have impressive voices. In fact you could say that this is their Voca-tion. Ahem. Once or twice I yearned for each one of them to sing a whole song but then again that’s what traditional gigs are for and this certainly ain’t a traditional gig. Put it all together and it’s a crazy mash up of music, comedy, improv and science fiction with just a little bit of sex thrown in for good measure (all very mild though, this is one of those rare shows that genuinely is suitable for all ages). You’d need a heart as cold as Neptune not to come out of this show grinning like a loon and the spontaneous standing ovation from the audience at the end of the night was one of the most enthusiastic I’ve seen in a while. Truly out of this world.

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