Review: The Ukulele Project, Underbelly
The Ukulele Project Underbelly ***
Best known for being the rinky-dink brother of the guitar, the ukulele is frequently dismissed as a childish gimmick, spurned by music and comedy aficionados alike.
This year's Fringe aims to challenge such preconceptions with a variety of acts embracing the instrument.
At the forefront of the uke invasion is student quartet The Ukulele Project. Armed with only four Bonsai guitars, they sing, pluck and stomp their way through a multitude of crowd pleasers from Gorillaz to Shirley Bassey.
On Radiohead's Karma Police, they give a percussive performance using the body of the ukulele to beat out the song's irregular rhythm. In such moments they demonstrate their unique appeal, their inventive approach to composition. Other highlights of the set include a couple of slapstick numbers - Kung Fu Fighting and a caterwauling rendition of The Cure's The Lovecats.
However, the comic elements of the routine are, more often than not, surpassed by the quartet's musicianship. Despite being unable to escape the uke's kitschy vaudevillian past entirely, this talented ensemble succeed in proving that the world's happiest instrument is anything but trivial.
Runs ends August 29
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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