By Adam Sandel
Fresh from an Off-Broadway run, the internationally renowned singing group Voca People bring their quirky, musically thrilling show to San Francisco’s Marines Memorial Theatre for a limited run through June 17th.
The Israeli-based ensemble of eight a-cappella and beat box singers play refugees from a distant planet – and their all-vocal medleys are a dizzying mash-up of pop, rock and classical tunes. The group’s vocal talent, musicality, and arrangements by Shai Fishman are truly out of this world.
Whether delivering a vocal history of music, a mash-up of movie themes, pop love songs, or iconic classical tunes, the Voca People deliver a flawless musical experience – from Mozart to Madonna, Beethoven to ABBA. Their classical and pop repertoires merge beautifully in an opera-rock Queen medley.
The comedic shtick between the musical numbers may appeal to some audience members more than others. The alien personae bring to mind the “Saturday Night Live” Coneheads, who scurry around and sound like the Jawas in “Star Wars.” Some may find the bit hilarious, while some may find it a bit precious.
The show’s extensive use of audience participation (willing or otherwise) might work better in a nightclub setting – where a few cocktails make audience humiliation more of a hoot. If you prefer to remain anonymous, avoid the front row or aisle seats.
But when they’re singing, the Voca People rule the planet. Their medleys brim with playful wit – and the encore mash-up of songs that are playing on the radio right now is a pure delight.