Music: Maria Frieman Re-Arranged

Meeting Maria Friedman, originally uploaded by Andrew Orange.

I don't normally go for photos with performers but West End Whinger Andrew made me do it since he hassled Maria Friedman enough to get her to pose for photos. Why not blind her in the process? I don't quite recall what the distraction was... Nor why I am covering my mouth...

Anyway, Maria Friedman has just started doing a concert series at the Menier Chocolate Factory through until May. Maria has been around for ages (particularly if you note her very long timeline on her website), and I had seen her in the concert version of Follies last year. But not being a Friedman devotee (or should that be groupie?), I wasn't particularly won over by the music, performance or banter of the first half of the show. I wasn't alone with this view either, since the guy next to me fell asleep.

By the second half however, the show picked up the pace and turned out to be quite a treat. Particular highlights were her picking on members from the audience while she sang "The Worst Pies in London" and "I Want to Sleep With You Now". There also was a wonderful performance of Irving Berlin's "I Got Lost In Your Arms" that had the audience on the edge of their seats. And with a terrific band, here's hoping there are more concerts here in the future. One caveat would be to make sure that any future concerts ensure that the star is more elegantly attired. The house dress and glitter potato sack with boots was a bit distracting...

This is a concert worth catching, but you will of course have to get there well ahead of its 8pm start to fight for an unnumbered seat. The couple who tried to reserve half a row with their jackets hadn't counted on seasoned chocolate factory goers such as we challenging them on that... The theatre can be such a tough place... Especially when all the guests in your party don't arrive with you...

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