Review: The Ukelele Orchestra at Buxton Opera House
Now a much loved national institution, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain returned to Buxton Opera House with their Gigasecond Tour. (Last year having celebrated 30 Plucking Years of Ukulele action, this year they have been going for One Billion Seconds).
The quirky eccentricity of the group is underpinned by sustained talent and creativity .. and much good (and bad!) humour.
As if the natural absurdity of eight middle-aged musicians in full evening dress all playing ukuleles was not enough, their selection of covers, including songs of teenage angst (just a Teenage Dirtbag and Smells Like Teen Spirit), contemporary dance hits (Happy and Up All Night to Get Lucky) and cult bands (Talking Heads and Kraftwerk), underlined the subversive nature of their mission. Fun yes, but each song was delivered with great aplomb and
considerable vocal as well as musical skill. An acapella rendition of Pinball Wizard as a sea shanty and their playing and singing several different songs at the same time, seamlessly combining Life on Mars, Born Free, Substitute, My Way and others were both cleverly arranged and vocally complex.
Playing to a packed house, the Ukes delighted their enthusiastic audience. As George Formby himself would surely agree it really did turn out nice again.