Entertainment » Theatre


by Rachel  Breitman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Dec 1, 2017

The Kennedy Center's holiday season kicks off with a three-day run of the British a cappella show "Gobsmacked!" The musical review includes beatboxing, singing, pantomime, and unique remixes of popular hits.

The group was formed by Nic Doodson, no a producer of the show. Featuring three-time undefeated UK Beatbox Champion and current World Team Champion Ball-Zee's, the show is heavy on cool special effects, brought along through the movement of Ball-Zee's throat, lips, tongue and hand. He creates electrical slides, high pitched shouts, and rhythmic thumps that provide a strong backbeat and numerous comic moments for the show. His ability to recreate realistic sounds from nature, electronica, and various percussion instruments is reminiscent of Michael Winslow of Police Academy fame.

Other performers include Marcus Collins, the 2011 runner up in the UK version of "The X-Factor," Norwegian singer Monika Sik-Holm, UK stage actress Emilie Louise Israel, West End actor Nick Hayes, and two original "Gobsmacked!" artists, Joanne Evans and Ed Scott.

With two 45 minute halves, the show is just short enough for an adolescent attention span. Filled with songs by Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas, and Sia, the younger viewer is definitely in for a show of their favorite tunes, sung by adorable fresh-faced performers. There are some sexual innuendos that may go over the head of younger viewers.

The show features some smart mix-ups, combining "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley and "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, along with a powerful edgy mix of "Paint it Black" by the Rollings Stones and "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse, just soulful enough to engage the parents of the teenage viewers. Classic rock songs by James Brown, Queen, and the Beatles will also please older viewers.

The group's name, which is slang for shocked or astonished, features repeatedly in the songs they sing, as the group tries to create elements of suspense with pantomimes and creative dance routines, creating the appearance of climbing stairs, riding trains, and playing instruments and electronica, all using a minimal set and simple equipment.

The songs are filled with dance, shimmying, and flirtation. It will bring even the oldest viewer back to moments of adolescent angst, humor, and upbeat fun.

"Gobsmacked!" runs through November 26 at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. For tickets or information call 202-467-4600; www.kennedy-center.org


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