Reviewer: Lucia Cox
The Public Reviews Rating:
One first saw The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at The Lowry exactly one year ago. This was my first encounter with the twenty-seven year, eight strong orchestra which consisted of Dave Suich, Peter Brooke Turner, Hester Goodman, George Hinchliffe, Richie Williams, Kitty Lux, Will Grove-White and their newest recruit of a mere twenty-one years, Jonty Bankes. The line-up’s the same and like the time before, tonight begins with a fantastically funny prelude to two hours of jaw-dropping musical talent.
Hinchcliffe is a superb ‘front man’ on lead uke and carries the night effortlessly. His quips are supported with well-rehearsed asides from his band mates. But disguising a lack of talent through sleight of hand and comic buffoonery ain’t their game. As Les Dawson and Tim Minchin discovered, having musical talent is all well and good but if you underpin this extraordinary musicality with humour, the audience is yours. This has proved a winning formula with sell-out tours across the globe, loyal fans and a new-found respect for the ukulele as a serious musical instrument.
The chosen repertoire this evening ranges from firm favourites, Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’, Ennio Morricone’s theme, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and there’s a smattering of Led Zep and Lady Gaga but it’s not all comedy. Lux’s version of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang, Bang’ is extraordinary and the psychedelic, tripped-out ‘In C’ played by the orchestra is really quite moving.
The UOGB are somewhere between The Muppets, embarrassing dad jokes and your cool mate who makes your soul smile. They play well, sing great and do ‘funny’ with aplomb. Go see them. It’s strumming good fun.
Reviewed on 5th August Touring until May
Tags: Dave Suich, Ennio Morricone, George Hinchliffe, Hester Goodman, Jonty Bankes, Kitty Lux, Kraftwerk, Lady Gaga, Les Dawson, Peter Brooke Turner, Richie Williams, Salford, The Lowry, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Tim Minchin, Will Grove-White