On Sunday the 24th of April we set the dials of the time machine to land us in the area of the Southwark Playhouse. We had been invited to take part in a wonderful event hosted by the Penny Readings. If, like us, you know little or nothing about this organisation, they are a wonderful group who take their inspiration from the Victorian tradition popularised by Charles Dickens, where people could enjoy a programme of readings and musical entertainment for just one penny, putting them within reach of the everyday man and woman.
We were one of two musical acts on the day and were to open the second half. The first half started with some good old Music Hall numbers, performed impeccable by Siobhan Blake Moteith. Next followed the first reading from A Little, Aloud With Love. The acoustics in the room were splendid and every word could be heard with clarity. We next were treated to a extract from a play called Teller from the theatre’s own company of young players. To end the first half Erwin James read from his book Redeemable. If you have not heard of Erwin, I suggest you do – either by reading his column in The Guardian, or by buying his book. We waited patiently in the wings to be announced onto the stage and were met by a warm and appreciative audience. Due to the aforementioned acoustics we were able to perform without microphones, or amplification for the ukuleles, which was wonderful. We played through our set of four songs and payed homage to two of the greatest icons of music this word has ever produced – David Bowie and Prince. During Purple Rain the audience sang along and a mutual moving moment was had!
After we had departed the stage, Claire Skinner (the mother from TV’s Outnumbered) gave a reading from Romeo and Juliet. The event was brought to a close by the Playhouse’s People’s Company with a selection of poems, monologues and duologues. Afterwards in the foyer we were overwhelmed by the kind words of both artists and patrons. The life of a time travelling ukuleleist is both varied and interesting, this event proved that in abundance. To The Future…. And beyond.