Review: Maria Friedman and the Great British Songbook, Shaw Theatre

Saturday 7 February 2009

maria-friedmanWell, not really a review, more a call to action. This was supposed to be a night off for Andrew but seeing Maria Friedman and the Great British Songbook at the Shaw Theatre seemed like as good a way as any of  winding down after a week spent mostly listening to Christian Bale remixes.

The show is supposed to be a response to the ubiquitous Great American Songbook but does Britain really have one?

Miss Friedman admitted that when the idea was first put to her she and realised she only had three British songs in her repertoire, an imbalance which she and MD Jason Carr have duly rectified with a deliciously catholic cocktail of songwriters from Purcell to Kate Bush by way of Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Lionel Bart, Tony Hatch, The Beatles, Anthony Newley, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Benjamin Britten and Monty Python.

This must have been quite a steep learning curve for Miss Friedman and the audience forgave her understandably occasional lapses of lyrical memory which she confessed to with good grace.

Indeed it’s such a warm-hearted show that only the most churlish pedant would point out that “(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover” was actually written by two Americans – Walter Kent and Nat Burton.

Anyway, if you are an admirer of Miss Friedman’s work or even if you aren’t but you just fancy immersing yourself in a wonderfully curated evening of 20th century song then get down to the Shaw Theatre today(Saturday) – it’s sadly the last night of the run.

Afterthought: Memo to Friedman and Carr: How about something from the dear departed Kirsty MacColl next time round? “There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis”?

8 Responses to “Review: Maria Friedman and the Great British Songbook, Shaw Theatre”

  1. Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

    I’m surprised Lesley Garrett wasn’t in it. Saturday is one of her days off.

  2. Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

    Hits head with spanner in a Dreyfuss-like way – of course, TODAY is Saturday. Plonker.

  3. J.A. Says:

    Quite enjoyed the Maria’s Sing-a-long-a War Years, but she was still rather forgetful this evening as well. How hard can it be?!

  4. arabella Says:

    I came to see her from Spain as I like her work very much :)It was a good show and I think it’s quite normal that she forgets some lines. I enjoyed it very much🙂

  5. Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

    Of course it’s normal. At the Old Vic it’s policy.

  6. wufnik Says:

    I haven’t seen the show, but, a la Dover, I hope she’s not doing The Teddy Bears’ Picnic–that one’s by an American (music) and an Irishman (lyrics).

  7. offthemark Says:

    “…the audience forgave her understandably occasional lapses of lyrical memory…”

    She also had lapses of lyrical memory at her last show at the Menier (at least on the night that I saw her), which most of the audience did indeed seem to find endearing, except for those of us who had expected her to be a bit more word perfect considering we were paying for a professional production. But this may be her new “thing” – to charm the audience by getting the words wrong and then confessing to it afterwards.


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