- September 12, 2017
The grand finale of the Sussex Ukulele Orchestra had a triumphant, celebratory air about it, in no small part thanks to the charismatic compering and performance from guitarist Richard Durrant. Joined by a generous backing band including synth, bass, percussion and more, the opening piece ‘Cycling Music’ was a propulsive, Philip Glass-inflected piece with some memorable bicycle clattering.
The strings from The Burning Deck added some heft and warmth to the breezy jaunt of ‘The Girl At The Airport’, but their parts for a lot of the evening felt under-utilised, adding a straightforward backing rather than performing many distinctive musical ideas.
Durrant’s brand new piece ‘Six Grooves For Ukulele’ included a joyous second movement brimming with ideas that was a crowd favourite, whereas I liked the spidery playing and more prickly modern textures of the fourth. 20 audience members had learned ukulele parts specifically for the occasion, which was a nice communal touch, albeit one that was somewhat to difficult to hear. If they had been mic’d up then their contribution would have been more discernible and fitted in more effectively.
A varied evening then, with a wealth of good ideas, some of which were executed better than others. The inventive spirit and tonally dexterous adventures of Durrant certainly made for a refreshing and enjoyable show however.
Ropetackle Arts Centre, 12 September 2017