The first sunny day of Spring I found myself London Eye-side of the Embankment en route with a friend of the distaff persuasion to an April Fools Day Concert. I was irresistibly drawn there by the promise of an appearance of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and having missed several of their concerts this year I thought this might be the next best thing.
After opening screenshots of a suitably ribald /irreverent nature drew the audience together in laughter, The London Firebird Orchestra filed onstage, followed by Rainer Hersch, and the mayhem began.
Ginka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla were variously mangled and thrown to the audience and the pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin came on to give us Beethoven, ‘but not as we know it Jim….’ Pachebel’s ‘Canon’ was thoroughly trashed in a similar vein. Alistair McGowan, despite my misgivings, was very good and his rendition of the Mikado’s Song by Gilbert & Sullivan was a joy. Enlivened as it was by various topical ‘digs’ at our current ‘Masters’.
Superb soprano Lindsay Sutherland-Boal stole the show with her version of the Strauss ‘Laughing Song’ sung by gargling with a bottle of Champagne. Then after the interval The Ukes joined for an all too brief episode of Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Alistair McGowan. Then in a bit of ‘nonsense’ they did one of their gems, ‘The Devil’s Gallop’, or the’ Dick Barton Theme’ for those of a Radio4Extra persuasion.
A wonderful day, in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and bookmarked for next year already!