'Vocal Orchestra' review or 'Banging beats!'

'The Vocal Orchestra', created by Shlomo
Udderbelly, Southbank, Friday 27th April
Written for Time Out


The Vocal Orchestra is a team of seven absurdly skilful musicians who create crazy soundscapes using only their voices. They can do rap, opera, beatboxing, swoony singing and, perhaps most excitingly, full-on lightsaber fights.

The show opens with some reverential medieval chords, which ring politely around the tent. A girl is ejected from the group and tentatively, then thumpingly, blasts out some beats. The rest of the gang joins in, each member welcomed with sunshine smiles. Quickly, the stage pulses with an incredibly textured, booming baseline.

It's the equivalent to playing all the demo modes on your keyboard at once, with every dial turned to max. The show, created by top beatboxer Shlomo, playfully re-imagines old classics such as Dusty Springfield's 'Son of a Preacher Man' and Bowie's 'Let's Dance'.

Whilst the bubblegum songs are fun, it's the theatrical set pieces that really showcase this group's creativity. A glorious slow-mo 'fight' creates an awesome symphony of pain, as bullets rattle through chests, arrows ping and bodies crash, loudly, to the floor.


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