The Mandolinquents make a song and dance in Newbury

Published: 22 Mar 2013 12:000 comments

ARMED with some familiar tunes, an infectious sense of fun, a smidge of tragedy, and, of course, their mandolins (and a banjo!), The Mandolinquents will be strumming their way to New Greenham Arts Auditorium.

The Mandolinquents

The Guide caught up with mandolinquent and renowned singer Hilary James to find out more about their Evening Of Musical Comedy And Tragedy show.

"We are going to be doing some songs, as well as tunes," Hilary explained. "We will be doing things like Noel Coward, Right Said Fred and occasionally a George Formby number, so it's very mixed; interspersed will be classical music and bits of swingy music - a wide range of styles, very diverse.

"We always open with The Typewriter by Leroy Anderson, the opening music of the News Quiz, which has become a bit of a theme for us.

"Simon [Mayor] is always very funny with his introductions, and we always get the hecklers, the regulars, it turns into quite a night - we call it a party down at Greenham!"

The group, completed by Simon Mayor, Gerald Garcia and Richard Collins, will also play some tragic tunes to balance out the laughs. "The tragedy bit you can juxtapose with the comedy, and they each highlight the other," said Hilary.

"We will be doing stuff like Loch Lomond, a Scottish traditional folk song. It used to be sung with great gusto by robust gentlemen at the Wild Heather Club, but it's a lament and we sing it as such. It's a very beautiful lament and very tragic. There's quite a few tragic ballads but it will all be juxtaposed. Like Shakespeare, he mixed tragic and comic to great effect."

The Mandolinquents will play New Greenham Arts Auditorium on Thursday, March 28, at 8pm. Tickets cost £14 from or call 0845 5218 218. Get a taste of their sound on their website,

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