Ok, the interminable Police Academy films were made midly more watchable by the vocal gymnastics of Michael Winslow. He says he can imitate over 1,000 special effects and tonight we get a mixture of stand up and his vocal impressions. The audience is 85 percent male which is sort of what I expected, and I’m here as I don’t think he comes to this country very often so I was curious to see what he does live.
I thought it might be good, but I was pleasantly surprised to see just how good he is. More than just a beatboxer (he’s introduced by the UK’s beatbox champion and Brighton resident Beardyman) he’s also a great showman. He starts off by explaining what it was like on the flight over, so we get to hear the airplane taking off, the noise of the plane when it reaches altitude and the flight attendant call button.
His show is basically a long monologue broken up into smaller set pieces that allow him to showcase the incredible array of sounds he can make. Over the course of the set we hear the sounds of things as diverse as scuba divers and the various fish they encounter, the noises of a Rabbit vibrator at different speed settings and the sound of different types of electrical goods in a hardware store.
There’s a nice sketch where a scene from Star Wars is projected onto a screen and he fills in all the dialogue and special effects:
My favourite sound effect is his awesome ability to imitate an electric guitar complete with feedback. He does a nice imitation of Robert Plant singing “Whole lotta love” complete with guitar accompaniement and a great Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock:
All in all it’s an entertaining show. He’s a charismatic performer and obviously really enjoys entertaining people by imitating the sound of just about anything you can think of. And silly noises made by one person is always going to be entertaining.