THE ukulele is an exciting instrument because it is both simple and amazingly versatile. No-one demonstrates this better than the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain who have done much to popularise the instrument both at home and abroad.

Their current tour pays homage to the centenary of the ending of the First World War. The ukulele was an instrument a soldier could fit in his kit bag, and many did.

The programme encompassed songs from a broad spectrum of nations participating in the conflict. It was an excellent balance between the solemn, the satirical and the sentimental. Stories behind the songs and their composers were told, adding richness to the experience.

Individually and collectively the Ukes generate a tremendous sense of fun. There were seven of them at the sold-out show at WMC, playing about a dozen instruments between them, plus the accomplished whistling of Jonty Banks, bass player. The dynamics of the performance were finely honed.

There was a workshop for allcomers before the show culminating in a performance in the bar as the audience arrived. Most of the workshop participants remained for the show which was a further education in technique and the endless possibilities of the instrument.

It can be plinkety plonk or it can be as lyrical as a classical guitar and all degrees in between.

The Ukes are a class act not to be missed when they come around again.