The Company of Voca People
(© Leon Sokoletski)
The Company of Voca People
(© Leon Sokoletski)
In the new 90-minute musical review, Voca People, now at the Westside Theatre, a powder-faced octet of frightfully talented a cappella singers run through fractions of dozens of songs from the pop music catalgoue: They harmonize the Beach Boys, belt Celine Dion, and bring a pop lightness to Nirvana. Wnile there's surely something for creating an entertainment that caters to every musical taste, It's a bit like listening to a car radio on scan.

The show's premise, structured by creator/director Lior Kalfo is simple: a group of aliens from the planet "Voca" crash their spaceship on Earth and need "musical energy" to refuel it. They proceed to sing us a series of medleys, most notably a Queen mashup of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Bicycle Race", where they jump back and forth between their imaginary super-stretch bike and the operatic profiles made iconic by the arena glam rockers.

Under the musical direction of Shai Fishman, the group uses their powerfully resonant voices in creative ways to recreate a live band. Two beat box artists, Beat On and Scratcher, provide the rhythm, while the rest (known only for their vocal range: Soprana, Alta, Bari-Tone, etc…) take on everything else from jazzy trombones to blazing guitars and, of course, vocals. It's rather like watching the acrobats of Cirque du Soleil; even when you bore of the scenes, you can't help but marvel at their sheer talent.

The Voca people effortlessly fill the intimate upstairs space of the Westside Theater, but sometimes they long for a little more company and pluck an unsuspecting audience member out of his or her seat to join them onstage for some embarrassing but good-natured fun.

Voca females get on their knees to sing the 1950s classic "Lollipop" to a certain part of the men they bring on stage, while a male Voca chooses a special lady each night to serenade with a barrage of over-the-top love songs. It's this kind of nonsensical fun that Voca People does best.

In fact, by the time their spaceship is refueled, we can't help but feel a little sad to see them go.