13 September 2015
Reviewed by Michelle Wright
A packed theatre, the babble of an excited audience and eight incredibly talented musicians created an absolutely awesome evening at the Lowry theatre.
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain were back playing at the Lyric Theatre in the Lowry as part of their Thirty Plucking Years tour.
I had seen this group of eight talented individuals twice before and I was eagerly back for more. I find them quirky, fresh, uncontrollably foot stomping and shoulder lifting, so very clever and incredibly talented.
When I have mentioned to some of my friends my plans for that evening, I had been rewarded with raised eyebrows and the occasional ‘oh right….’, a look of ‘what are you going there for’… All I can say is open your ears and go – they are awesome!
Tonight’s show had some of the previous renditions I had seen before such as Teenage Dirtbag and Pinball Wizard – repeated again tonight for a reason… They are simply just great! But mixed into tonight’s performance was some fresh material and modern songs from younger artists such as Adele and Pharrel William’s – a huge compliment to be in their play list I would say.
I think what makes their music so unique is that it’s all ukulele and their own unique vocals without any support. They play their instruments as ukuleles as well as at one point using the back as a bongo drum! Their deadpan, sarcastic humour is mixed in throughout allowing the audience to feel involved as well as highly entertained and relaxed.
One of the members of the orchestra explained to the whole audience about a gentleman called Thomas Boardman who had been a prisoner of war at a Japanese camp, and to entertain himself and fellow prisoners, had made a ukulele from old Red Cross boxes, wire and anything else he could find lying around. The ukulele could be found in the building next door, the imperial war museum. What a privilege that a 97 year old Mr Boardman was sat in tonight’s audience. This news was met by a standing ovation not only by the theatre audience but by the orchestra too as they dedicated one of their songs to him.
This was not the only standing ovation of the night, because as the lights came on when the last song had finished people leapt to their feet to show their appreciation.
If you haven’t been to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain before, even if you don’t think it’s your thing, I urge you to go – I have no doubt you will be impressed!
You can track their tour dates on their website – be quick as they only have a few more gigs left in the UK this year and then they are off to the United States and then to Germany! A worldwide following for a world class group of performers!
For more information and tour dates visit www.ukuleleorchestra.com.
For other shows at The Lowry visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000