Dom Kureen was kindly allowed a press pass for the recent Ventnor Arts Festival – On Sunday the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain hit the strip.
The 8-piece ensemble, now in their 30th year of live performances, entered the fray composed of seven ukulele practitioners and a single bassist, a set-up consistent since 2005.
In a move that added instant lustre to proceedings, the half a dozen male members took to the stage adorned in black-tie attire, with the two female acts in chic evening dress.
The stimulating nimble ‘Hollywood,’ based on Richard A. Whiting’s 1937 ‘Hollywood Hotel’ soundtrack, got things off to a flyer and was played in tribute to Marilyn Monroe.
Shifting gears, a startling cabaret depiction of Prince’s 1980’s boudoir tour de force, ‘Kiss’ gave the first hints of a tongue-in-cheek theme that ran for the show’s duration.
‘Get Lucky’ was given a new lease of life, despite the Daft Punk/Pharell Williams collaboration having already spawned several dozen increasingly naff covers. This effort bypassed the stigma of cliché with a fresh glaze of silliness, including a host of animal noises and on-stage shape cutting.
Missing the mark, a parody of Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ became painstakingly hokey in parts and a couple of overly rehearsed gags played out to a handful of reticent courtesy chuckles.
Thankfully, the purity of ‘Dancing Barefoot’ got things back on track, capturing the spirit of Patti Smith’s canticle without breaking stride.
The engaging ’32 Bar Blues’ and convivial ‘Should I Stay or Should I go’ provided a buoyant close to the gaiety, with the string octet receiving not one, but two lengthy standing ovations.