Went up to London yesterday (a long contorted journey, lasting three hours, due to engineering works) to see one of my all-time favourite performers, Maria Friedman. I first saw her back in the early nineties as Dot in ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ at the National Theatre. I’d always been a fan of Stephen Sondheim – especially his lyrics – but this show turned me into a self-confessed obsessive. I feel like I’ve learnt so much as a poet, over the years, from listening to Sondheim songs – he’s a master of intricate sound patterns, assonance, plosives etc. When Ann Drysdale commented, in the Foreword to my collection, Creatures of the Intertidal Zone, that:

internal rhyme and assonance, not obvious on the page, sing out when the poems are read aloud

I was thrilled. And only later realised that Sondheim’s lyrics must have been one of my biggest influences.

Anyway, this new Maria Friedman show, ‘Re-arranged’, was fantastic – no-one can tell a story through song like Maria Friedman can. She can shift between moods – from tender to satirical to raunchy to ironic – so deftly. And there were some fabulous new arrangements of songs by Jacques Brel, Kate Bush, Irving Berlin and Randy Newman, as well as Sondheim, which gave her every opportunity to showcase her talent for subtle interpretation.

Oh, and what a great venue the Chocolate Factory is! Superb desserts, many of them chocolate-themed, in the cafe (I had the best warm chocolate brownie of my life before the show began!) And such a wonderfully intimate performance space. Wish there were more cabaret-style shows of this kind to see. I’d make a three-hour-engineering-works-interrupted train trip from Cardiff every time.

One response to “‘Maria Friedman – Rearranged’ at the Chocolate Factory

  1. Hi there, Susan

    This isn’t really a comment on your last post but I just wanted to pop by and say hello, as a fellow Cinnamon Press author blogger!

    Good luck with your collection.

    Now you’ve got me craving chocolate!


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