Reviewer: Vicki Taylor
The Public Reviews Rating:
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (David Suich, Peter Brooke Turner, Hester Goodman, George Hinchliffe, Richie Williams, Will Grove-White and Jonty Bankes) are more than just ukulele players. They are perfectly timed comics, impressionists, and sublime entertainers, making their show easily the best thing I’ve seen all year.
It’s impossible to pin down the show with a simple definition. It’s a concert, naturally, but the exquisite comedic moments make it funnier than most stand up. The players constantly provoke each other, playing ever more extravagant solos on increasingly tiny ukuleles. The dynamic between them is perfect, and no wonder seeing as the newest recruit joined 22 years ago.
The set is unpredictable, leaving the audience howling with laughter from one song to the next. Old crooners are sandwiched between jazzed up Swedish love songs and classic metal covers (complete with head banging). There’s even a rendition of a Lady Gaga anthem, George announces that he religiously sings a female number in every show and it can range from Shirley Bassey to Madonna.
The players are faultless and show off not only tremendous instrumental skill, but wonderful voices. The upbeat songs are followed by tender ballads, especially from Hester, who sings with a soulful folk voice as the lights dip and the atmosphere becomes calm. The whole orchestra are as tuneful without their instruments as with them; the a cappella sections are beautiful and it takes a moment to notice that they’re no longer accompanied by strings. They have the audience in the palm of their hands throughout the entire show, commanding the mood effortlessly. They even transform the George Formby cliché into something truly magical.
It’s difficult to hurl enough praise at this perfectly considered show. They aren’t like any orchestra you’ve ever seen; they’re a ridiculous, joyful group of talented entertainers who happen to play the same silly four stringed instrument. This silliness is all part of it, and it’s wonderful.The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – Royal Hall, Harrogate ,
Tags: David Suich, George Hinchliffe, Harrogate, Hester Goodman, Peter Brooke Turner, Richie Williams, Royal Hall, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Ukulele, Will Grove-White and Jonty Bankes, yorkshire