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Theater review: Voca People

Just to recap, I went to see Voca People at the Marines Memorial Theatre (that's how they spell it, even though it's in San Francisco, USA) because my friend, Chris Dilley is in it.



I had a mixed reaction, because there's two separate things going on, the concept and the music.

The music is BRILLIANT. It's all done vocally through a mixture of acapella singing and beat boxing. The harmonies are amazing. The songs range from classical to jazz standards to 70's and 80's pop, and some very recent hits. All the singers have great voices. The medleys and mash-ups a very cleverly sequenced. There were a few places where I had some issues with the pacing, such as a beat-boxing "competition" that went on WAY TOO LONG, but mostly as a listening experience, it was wonderful.

But it was also supposed to be a show. That's where I ran into trouble. The premise is that these "Voca People" are aliens who've crashed landed here and they need to re-power their space ship. The concept is that "music=energy" and "music=life." To be honest, it gets a little precious and cutesy after awhile, since the speaking is all in a sort of pidgin English that the aliens sort of pick up from the audience. Also, the pacing issues mentioned above. I would really have ditched "We Are The World," as the big anthem moment.

If you go for the cheap seats, up in the balcony, as I did, there's a good 20 minutes to 1/2 hour of activity that you completely miss unless you stand up, because all the performers move down into the audience and interact with audience members. Of course this means, you avoid being embarrassed by being one of those members.

I did have a good time, but I feel like I would have had just as much of one if it were presented as more of a concert by the Voca People, rather than this particular concept.

Poor Chris, last time I saw him on-stage, he was in full drag as Trampoline in the Kinsey Sicks. This time around I was able to recognize him under the white-face, but I can't imagine the make-up is comfortable. (At least he doesn't have to wear high heels.)
He's done some some cabaret performances at places like the The Rrazz Room, but I'm sure he'd love to do some theater work where he can be in character, but still be a little more visible as himself.

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