Michael Winslow : Police Academy Sound FX Show

Michael Winslow : Police Academy Sound FX Show


Widely known for his stellar work in the Police Academy films though not much else, it is with some curiosity that led me into tonight’s show. We’re immediately reminded via the voice-over introduction guy that the man of 10,000 voices has also been in SpaceballsRobot Chicken and Family Guy, and there’s even an eighth Police Academy movie coming out 2015.

He started with an anecdote on flight attendants and went onto giving us a lesson, wanting the audience to learn do do the beep that accompanies your groceries moving across the scanner so we can get free stuff and mess with the check-out staff. While the non-sound effect portions of the show (i.e. the jokes) could be a bit corny, Winslow’s delivery was so full of wide-eyed charm and energy you could easily forgive any cheap laughs.

The first show of the tour, he also could be excused for blowing out the cobwebs and taking a while to find his feet. He did not like people going to the bathroom during the show (and there were many), so those with weak bladders were shamed with footstep sounds and well, ‘toilet noises’. At times he seemed a little exhausted having just flown in from Prague (ooo la la), so he needed the occasional prompt for the next bit via a projection screen. When he sound-tracked scenes from Star Wars and Pacific Rim was when he really shone, doing sharp new dialogue and mimicking everything from the tiny creaks of doors to massive machinery shifting and exploding.

Winslow also has a real affection for rock music, at various points asking ‘where my rockers at?’ to yowls and hoots from the wasted.  His Tuna Turner bit fell a little flat, though when he brought out Even’s Ash Naylor to provide real six stringed backing was when things got awe-inspiring. His simulation of wailing guitar solos, deep throbbing bass, and howling harmonica to Pink Floyd’s Breathe and The Beatles’ Dear Prudence was unquestionably sublime.

A master of sound effects and impersonations, his Snoop was bang on and his Led Zeppelin and Hendrix were pitch perfect facsimiles, only with better guitar tone than the originals. For a guital-pedal nerd like myself it was interesting to note that he uses a delay, an octave and a fuzz pedal to achieve the amazing noises. Even the greatest among us need a little help sometimes.