Udderbelly Festival / London, UK


Gobsmacked! is a goody bag of slick, cheesy fun backed up by an array of vocal prowess. The acapella troupe opened the show with a symbolic coming into harmony, with each singer entering the stage from different corners of the room before jumping into Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” complete with an impressive vocal guitar. All sounds produced during the show came from the performers and there definitely were some talented vocalists holding the show down.

Streaming through a series of crowd-pleasing pop hits including: “Crazy,” “Mr Brightside,” “Rolling In The Deep,” “Mercy,” and “Can’t Feel My Face,” Gobsmacked! very effectively warmed the crowd up with their theatrical singing, shimmying and synchronized choreography.

The safe musical choices underplayed the relatively new troupe’s talents, but Gobsmacked! exuded promising potential for imaginative artistic development, set in an advantageous position by experienced producer Nic Doodson (also producer of The Magnets).

Uncontestedly, Joanne Evans’ “This Is A Man’s World” and “Titanium” stole the show with her incredible vocal range and resonating tone. Her versatility carried emotive incrimination and a strong delivery. Her husky alto range was simply chilling.

The underdog of the troupe was no doubt Ben Chambers, shining through with a crisp and clean tenor, rising to the top of the texture every time he sang. With only one solo, Mumford and Sons’ “I Will Wait,” Chambers maximized his opportunity and showcased his musical-theatre timbre, impacting and surprising the audience. Chamber has one of those voices which you could listen to for hours on end; the show would definitely benefit with more solos from Chambers.

Ball-Zee (Patrick Hirst), world-renowned beatboxer, left the audience jaw-dropped. His sound effects, my favourite being his ricochet, drew the audience into his mimed imagination and dazzled the crowd with the range of his beatboxing skills. From imitating vehicles to percussion instruments, Ball-Zee demonstrated his mastery with ease, unnecessarily proving at times that there is no lip-syncing involved. He provided the group’s harmony and continuity with effortless fun.

Although the show has been pampered to be sugary sweet with a handful of awkward arrangements, Gobsmacked! invigorated the Udderbelly with just as much energy as the “!” at the end of their name quantified.

–  Jason Kwan

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