To a great build up and the promise of ‘musical madness’, the three very young and very smiley ukulele players took to the stage to play what the programme describes as ‘original versions of everyone’s favourite music’.
With background video accompaniment, the seated musicians made lots of eye contact with the audience throughout the show and all three exuded great confidence. They do perform a well-played eclectic mix, covering Radiohead, Bond tunes, The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel among others, but while the audience seemed to be fair taken with the trio, this reviewer is still awaiting that ‘madness’ and ‘original[ity]’.
The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, who are the confessed influence of The Ukelele Project and whose formula they are following, has been performing longer than these very young musicians have been alive, since 1985 in fact. So, while they are accomplished, they are not original. Their act, in my view, needs to have a unique take, not just be a pale imitation of the masters. Right now, they are not anarchic, edgy or different enough to be outstanding. In saying that, the audience was rapt but maybe many had never seen or heard of the Real McCoy i.e. The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.
There was a very good solo from Marcus with a Radiohead song and I presume this venture will be an interesting interval in the careers of these clearly very bright people who provided a pleasant musical hour with the happy sounds of the ukulele. I should point out that Scots tend to pronounce the word ‘whales’ with a ‘wh’ sound, not the ‘w’ sound so their last pun-on-a-placard didn’t work properly.
5-29 August (not 16), 12.45pm
£6.50- £11, (£6.50-£10)