A review of the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain at Worthing Theatres.
Uke Must Be Kidding Me.
Yes, I think the Ukelele is a cool instrument and here is a little-known fact for you; Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie both started their musical careers learning to play the Ukelele. I thought I would follow suit and I got a Ukelele for my birthday last year, mainly because I think it is a really nice instrument for LT to grow up listening to.
It has a tone that is almost nursery rhyme like and it’s small neck and soft strings make it ideal for her to pick up and start learning one day. As much as Lorna supports my ambitions to encourage LT to learn a musical instrument at times I think that she would like to wrap the Ukelele around my head, mainly because my repertoire is restricted to two songs; ‘Bare Necessities’ from the Jungle Book and ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Keane.
As a budding Ukelele aficionado, I was over the moon to see that the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain were in the listings for Worthing Theatres and were coming to town as part of their Heresy Two Heritage World Tour. Lorna could barely contain her excitement when I told her that I was taking her to the concert. Just imagine I said, you won’t just be listening to one Ukelele you will be listening to 7 of them all playing at once! She was thrilled.
We planned on going for dinner beforehand but we have had a pretty rough couple of weeks leading up to the concert with LT. She has been ill on and off and also teething and generally just a bit unpredictable at bedtimes so we decided to stay at home until the very last minute when we left for the concert leaving LT in her Nonna’s very capable hands.
The Assembly Hall in Worthing provided an excellent setting for the concert. The huge auditorium created some great acoustics for the sound and we had a superb view from the balcony. Having got the ‘all clear’ text message from Nonna confirming that little LT was sound asleep we were able to relax and enjoy the show.
Best seats in the house.
Something that I like in any music is simplicity and the fact that the orchestra plays music from bass end low notes through to high pitch riffs and melodic chords all with nothing more than a simple Ukelele guitar makes the whole concept beautifully simple.
The Orchestra sit in a row on the stage in formal evening wear but the concert was far from a sombre affair. They intersperse each song with a burst of good humour and their fair share of bad jokes which all added to the entertainment factor of the concert.
An Eclectic Mix.
The orchestra played such a variety of songs it was enough to keep any discerning music fan happy. The Zutons ‘Valerie’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush and ‘The Theme from Shaft’ by Isaac Hayes all got thrown in the mix.
The highlight for me though was an amazing version of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana. For this song they brought out an extra small Ukelele which looked more like a pencil sharpener than a guitar! Watching the 7 of them put together such an original version of this grunge classic was unbelievable and the sweet tones of the Ukelele provided a cool contrast to the gritty distortion of the original.
Hitting The Bar.
We made it to the bar and to the front of a stress-free and very short cue in plenty of time to grab a drink in the interval.
I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent range of beers that they stocked at the bar including a Crafty Blond by local brewery Longman and a Goose Island IPA which I sampled; good work Worthing Theatres!
The venue had ample space for seating in the bar area and of course they were selling the classic little ice cream tubs that are a must for any visit to the theatre.
Play It Again Sam.
The Orchestra played through a brilliant second half of the gig and demonstrated not just their virtuosity at playing the Ukelele but also their impressive singing abilities. From Blues to Rock covers and Italian Ballads in-between they wooed the crowd with an eclectic mix of entertaining songs.
They left the stage but quickly came back to rapturous applause for an encore as the audience were eager to hear just one more song.
The fact that Worthing Theatres hosted the show was quite impressive since The Ukelele Orchestra hold The Royal Albert Hall and The Sydney Opera House amongst their list of previous venues. The future tour dates this year are taking them from Cardiff to Grand Island in America, Munich in Germany and back to Salford Quays and Leicester amongst other places.
After seeing them in action I can see why they have such a popular following that creates demand for visits to such far-flung corners.
Overall the atmosphere inside the venue and the superb talent of the Ukelele Orchestra made for a great evening.
The comfortable seating, great view of the stage and top end selection of beers in the interval just made a great evening even better.
We will be back in the near future to post previews and reviews of gigs and events in our local area so keep em’ peeled!
Until next time…….
Be excellent to each other.
Post by Daddy.
N.B: I have not been serenaded by the Ukelele Orchestra or compensated in any way by Worthing Theatres to write this post.