BWW Reviews: VOCA PEOPLE Inspire Life and Laughter
Home to some wonderfully strange and unique characters, San Francisco should have no trouble welcoming the VOCA PEOPLE. Hailing from planet Voca, the unusual group crash-lands its spaceship in the city every night through June 17, bringing with them non-stop comedy and mannerisms and costumes similar to those of the famed Blue Man Group.
Sporting all white attire and quirky personalities, eight VOCA PEOPLE interact with audiences to quickly learn and thereafter perform the music of earth, using pure vocals to recharge their spaceship. The arrangements are regrettably short, but brilliant in their creativity, variety and use of the voice. All equally extraordinary in talent, the VOCA PEOPLE begin with an arrangement that gives a basic history of music and then go on to cover everything from opera and movie scores to pop music and oldies. Selections include music from Michael Jackson, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, James Bond, Pink Panther, John Williams, and The Nutcracker with songs like “My Heart Will Go On,” “I Like to Move It,” “Mr. Sandman,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” “Mamma Mia,” “Barbie Girl,” and “Moulin Rouge.” They even include an alien’s homage E.T.
A cappella vocals alone would make for little more than what viewers find on television’s The Sing Off. But VOCA PEOPLE goes far beyond amazing vocals. “Life is music. Music is life,” one of the delightful aliens states. He and his companions must understand and know the fact full well, because they never stop bringing life to those they meet and the music they sing. With nothing but dramatic lighting (which shines directly on the audience several times) and a prop meant to serve as an energy gauge for their spaceship to aid them, the group thoroughly entertains on a mostly empty stage, using fun choreography and hilarious audience interaction to round out the concert as a complete theatrical experience.
Communicating mostly with random sounds similar to beat-boxing, each of the VOCA PEOPLE has a distinct personality. Named after the parts they sing, some are incredibly shy while others are hyper and energetic. Beat On, the commander, and his brother, Scratcher, perform an impressive featured beat-box number, and the men and women VOCA PEOPLE take turns picking favorites from the audience, leading to two shocking, yet hilarious adult-oriented moments.
The show’s program expounds upon characters’ personalities with fun “get to know you” facts about each character, although the program has no actor biographies. Comprising the multitalented group are Boaz Ben David, Inon Ben David, Chris Dilley, Matthew Bryan Feld, Adi Kozlovsky, Michal Reshef, Vered Sasportas and Shimon Smith. They bring to life the fantastic vision of creator and director Lior Kalfo and co-creator, composer, arranger and music director Shai Fishman.
Despite fairly stiff and uncomfortable seats (with no intermission) at the older Marine Memorial Theatre, pure talent, humor and originality make VOCA PEOPLE an event not to be missed. It’s an entirely unique and overwhelming experience that leaves audiences raving long after the curtain closes.