"I thought it would be a one-off performance at a pub," said George Hinchliffe, co-director, in a phone interview. No chance. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has lived far beyond its 1985 debut, and now there are eight ukuleles (in different registers) that tour the world, in a show that features serious musicianship as well as charming humor.
"I don't think we make jokes at the expense of the music," Hinchliffe said. "We're trying to [push] away all the pretentiousness. We want the show as enjoyable as possible."
So far this calendar year, the ensemble has played in Norway, Germany, New Zealand and Australia, and favorites of their set lists are renditions of the musical score to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K.," though re-imagined as if it had been written by Simon & Garfunkel.