Sunday 16 August 2015

Gobsmacked! - Review

Udderbelly, Edinburgh


Bringing together a cast of 7 talented young vocalists, Gobsmacked! delivers a unique, refreshing hour of contemporary, a capella tunes to a sell out crowd at the Udderbelly.

With a stage backlit by a vast wall of speakers and without a single instrument in sight, each cast member gets a turn in the spotlight to power through a series of catchy, superbly delivered hits from the last 40 years of pop music.

In the early stages the show does take a couple of songs to really get going, but the precision of the harmonies is remarkable at times, fusing elements of dance, R’n’B and hip-hop into a number of modern classics. An eclectic re-imagining of The Killers Mr. Brightside injects the crowd with energy in the first half, while an impeccably delivered falsetto version of Mumford & Sons I Will Wait delivers a welcome, more melancholic tempo to proceedings.

Thematically, almost all the songs focus on the same issues of love, loss and hope - That’s perfectly understandable given the source material that they are working with, but with more varied subjects or an attempt to rework songs from different genres, the group could have taken the audience on more of a journey and better demonstrated the breadth and depth of their talent.

The undoubted highlight of the show is the solo stylings of charismatic human beatboxer ‘Ball-Zee’. His light-hearted ten minute set includes taking the audience through the tuning of a virtual drum-set (complete with a pitch recalibration of each skin) before delivering a mind-melting looping sample that makes you question how one voice-box can produce such a wide variety of different sounds at exactly the same time

The show ends in exuberant fashion with a wide ranging, foot-tapping medley of hits, ranging from Stevie Wonder’s Superstition to Martin Garrix’s Animals, with each cast member entering the crowd and bringing (somewhat reluctant!) audience members onto the stage for a final dance. Shortly to head off on a deserved tour of Asia and Australia, Gobsmacked! makes for a highly entertaining evening that will be packing in the Fringe crowds throughout August.

Runs until 31st August at 4.30pm
Guest reviewer: Richard Fox

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