Sunday December 17th 2017

“Gobsmacked” reviewed by Carol Moore

Highly Recommended **** “Gobsmacked!” absolutely blew me away!  The show is a fast-moving musical revue, featuring high-energy a cappella harmonics with beatbox support by international star, Ball-Zee (aka Patrick Hirst).  While every member of the cast is a strong individual singer, it is when they blend their voices that they really shine!  4 Spotlights

When I read about “Gobsmacked!”, I didn’t know what the term beatboxing actually meant.  My son does rhythmic drum noises – which always impressed me – but this was something else.  When I saw and heard current World Beatbox Champion Ball-Zee in action, I was in awe (gobsmacked, in fact)!   The entire show is built around him.

As The Conductor, Ball-Zee directs the action, beginning every song with a rhythmic beat, continuing the rhythm throughout every song but one.  He is a constant presence onstage, yet stays out of the way of the performance.  His solo was compelling, unique, theatrical, building to an amazing climax.

Unlike most reviews, the international cast in “Gobsmacked!” has roles to play.  In addition to The Conductor, there is The Man (Nicholas Hayes, actor, vocalist); The Lad (Marcus Collins, runner-up on “The X Factor”, vocalist); The Boy (Ed Scott, vocalist, MC and voiceover artist); The Woman (Emilie Louise Israel, vocalist, actress); The Lady (Joanne Evans, opera-trained vocalist); and The Girl (Monica Sik-Holm, Norwegian vocalist, pianist).

I heard street-corner harmonies, barber-shop harmonies and more complex modern blends; song styles ranging from gospel to rock and contemporary; and selections ranging from contemporary divas to the Beatles.  Act I was very contemporary in tone, with an upbeat rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” as the centerpiece.  Act II was more laid back, featuring oldies like the Beatles.

“Gobsmacked!” runs through December 10th at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, Chicago.

Parking is available at a reduced rate in the Water Tower Place garage.  Be sure to get a validation ticket from the usher.

Running time is 1 hour, 50 minutes, with an intermission.

Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 pm

Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00 pm

Sunday at 2:00 and 7:30 pm.

Tickets range from $39-$79.  FYI (312) 977-1710, (800) 775-2000, www.broadwayinchicago.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Gobsmacked”

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