Fringe Review: Gobsmacked! - Underbelly ✭✭✭✭

Review by Anne Mackie

Gobsmacked! is a next generation acapella show that is quite literally (as the title suggests...) gobsmacking...

But what allows this production to merit the 'gobsmacking' headline? There are a number of reasons, really. But what particularly stands out in this hour long fringe spectacle is one simple thing - the human voice. A strange statement, maybe, but as the performance begins, it becomes apparent that the unique blend of voices work beautifully together to produce some of the most exquisite and incomprehensible sounds I have heard in a performance space! From dynamic beat-boxing to soaring lyrical soprano tones - this group literally have it all. So much so, it becomes almost inconceivable that the human voice is able to produce such dynamic, emotive yet diverse musical tones!

The group use a simple yet effective set which encompasses headphones connected to a series of stacked-up stereo amps which the group occasionally climb on throughout the show. Truth? I'm somewhat unsure of what this symbolised within the context of the production, however I like to think it denoted the power and capability of the live human voice against the notion of current pre-recorded, instrumentally accompanied and artificially edited studio vocals. A poignant notion in today's somewhat manufactured and reality TV-induced music industry. It would have been particularly interesting if the production had featured more of a linear narrative in which to tie in the use of such a striking set and well chosen mix of musical numbers. That said, we must also remind ourselves that this is not a 'musical' - but instead a show that focuses solely on the efficacy and ability of the human voice. 

What was particularly obvious throughout the production was the chemistry between each individual performer in the group. Not once did concentration, group dynamic, harmony lines or beat-boxing slip; thus making for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of vocal entertainment. So much so, I left the Udderbelly venue wanting to invest in some form of beat-boxing lessons! 

The long and short of it? Gobsmacked! is not only's mind-blowingly good! Featuring an array of face-meltingly fabulous vocals and lip-tinglingly terrific beat-boxing tones; I cannot recommend this production highly enough. You won't believe your ears! Go... Embrace... And prepare to be Gobsmacked!

Gobsmacked! is at Underbelly from 14-16 and 18-31 August at 16:30. The performance lasts 1 hour.