review: The Voca People have landed—8 harmonizing aliens creating vocal magic—at San Francisco’s Marines’ Memorial Theatre through Sunday, June 17, 2012
Last Tuesday, eight snow-white, ruby-lipped aliens from the distant planet Voca invaded San Francisco’s Marines’ Memorial Theatre, with a delightful musical theatre performance, Voca People, which is the perfect family-friendly summer-in-the-City outing. Created by Israeli writer Lior Kalfo, who wrote, choreographed and directed it, and music director Shai Fishman, Voca People is a toe-tapping a capella musical review whose energetic and uplifting vibe is out of this world. Its origin lies in an Internet video with that perfect weird-crazy-cool factor that went intergalactic with hits. Voca People packs the entire history of Earth music into a 90 minute show that actively involves Earthlings, audience members, who are brought on stage throughout the performance and subjected to Voca experimentation. This is a limited run engagement that runs through Sunday, June 17, 2012.
The concept isn’t new but that doesn’t really matter. The Voca spaceship ran out of fuel and has force-landed on Planet Earth, stranding eight friendly, very bald, and cuddly aliens who happen to sing in amazing harmony. To return to Planet Voca, the Voca people need fuel—Earth music. In their search for fuel, 3 female singers (alto, mezzo, soprano), 3 male singers (bass, baritone, tenor), and 2 vocal beat box artists run through a rich medley of roughly 70 musical hits, sung in short segments that range from the opening “The History of Music” to “Music of the Movies.” There are no musical instruments, no sound effects, only vocals! The sheer diversity of the songs keeps you hopping and in awe. You’ll hear “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Lollipop,” “Mr. Sandman” and even Mozart’s “Magic Flute” and will be challenged over and over again to name that tune without cheating and glancing at the program where the titles are all listed. On opening night, audience members enthusiastically clapped, waved their arms in the air, and swayed to familiar tunes that resonated on many levels.
The great thing about Voca People is that its talent runs deep and when you least expect it, amongst all the zaniness, you can be blown away by the simple delivery of a song. All the performers are gifted but stand-outs are “Beat On,” the Voca commander in chief and “Scratcher,” his brother, who create an endlessly impressive array of human beat box sounds that serve as the sole rhythmic accompaniment to the singing. A lot of the fun is in sizing up the various audience members who are pulled up on stage spontaneously to serve as human companions to the affection-starved and ever curious Voca citizens. If you’ve got guests coming or simply want to enjoy an evening out that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, Voca People is out-of-this-world.
The creative team for Voca People includes Lior Kalfo (Director / Co-Creator), Shai Fishman (Musical Director / Co-Creator), Roy Milo (Lighting Design), Naor Ben Meir (Sound Design) and Hana Yefet (Costume Design).
Details: Voca People runs Tuesday, June 5, 2012 through Sunday, June 17, 2012. 8 PM shows Tuesday-Friday; 6:30 PM and 9:30 PM shows Saturdays; and 3 PM and 6 PM shows on Sundays. Tickets range in price from $49 to $75 and are on-sale now at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre Box Office, online at marinesmemorialtheatre.com, or by phone at (415) 771-6900. The Marines’ Memorial Theatre is located at 609 Sutter Street, San Francisco.