In a discretely publicised warm up for Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the New Red Lion Theatre in Angel, London, an eighties movie icon with a microphone produced some of the most incredible sounds a human voicebox can make proving what you saw on the big screen wasn’t manipulated.
Probably better known to you[r parents] as Seargent Motormouth from the Police Academy films, Winslow has been the inspiration for generations of human beatboxers trying to imitate his scarily accurate vocal sound effects.
Yet aside from a few Police Academy geeks that stayed at the end, his reputation as a vocal beatboxer preceded him rather than his fictional movie character. While a certain percentage of the audience for his warm up gig fell into the bell curve age range of those who grew up with Police Academy movies, others simply wanted to see a grown man make funny sounds!
Winslow’s comic delivery is part Richard Pryor and part Beardyman, bouncing off audience reactions and springing into different characters and illustrating with sound effects between with the most characterismatic facial expressions.
Surprisingly, admitting to be an admirer of Doug E Fresh, Winslow’s sound effects weren’t too hip hop inspired, but funky and soulful, managing to pull off an incredible (and funny) impersonation of Jimi Hendrix electric guitar impression and impersonate Louis Armstrong too.
The difference is, while some beatboxers rely on a loopstation to manipulate their vocals, Winslow was able to do so with a basic synthesiser to add the right amount of distortion without detracting from his vocal abilities.
The man was hilarious! While we’ve seen Beardyman live, and Shlomo in Mouthronica, Michael Winslow had a completely different approach to his performance. There wasn’t one face in the room that wasn’t creased up with laughter in a show that you could watch with your eyes closed – unless you wanted to miss out on some of the show stoppers. Telling them to you would ruin the surprise – so see him while you can!
Michael Winslow is performing nightly at Edinburgh Festival Fringe