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Hearing Is Believing

August 16, 2010
by: Marty Arnold, Playbill

Vox AudioFive unique voices comprise Vox Audio, whose show fairly explodes with vocal pyrotechnics, rhythm and comedy

“This is what they call classical music, isn’t it?” Marilyn Monroe once remarked on screen, when Tom Ewell pumped up the Rachmaninoff wooing.” I could tell because there’s no vocal.”

Life, and blondes, were so simple 50 years ago. One can only wonder what MM would have made of the five-headed monster named Vox Audio that has taken over the John Houseman Theater in a show called Loudmouth. It is all vocal, yet there’s not a spoken word the whole 90 minutes. Human voices stand in for an entire orchestra, doing Golden Oldies with eerie exactness.

A unique theatrical experience, you could call it. Fact is, it has a new Drama Desk Award to that effect, and still you wish the adjective came in gradations. Something is “unique,” or it isn’t – and Vox Audio is, in spades, unlike anything you’ve ever seen – er, heard.

It’s the musical amalgam of five gifted, single-minded performers, ranging in age from 28 to 38, in states from New York to Texas and in tastes from show tunes to acid rock. Collectively, they form a human juke box that spins out – by hairpin turns – “Stand by Me,” Neal Hefti, seventies’ disco, Carole King, TV-show themes, rap, the Beatles, jazz, and rock. They’ve played planes, ships, fairs, “Italian resorts” a la Orlando, theme parks, subway jam sessions, and now they’ve entered the best of all previous worlds – New York theatre.