Maria Friedman and Friends

Maria Friedman & Friends – Legacy reviews round-up at Menier Chocolate Factory ★★★★

Maria Friedman & Friends – Legacy at the Menier Chocolate Factory has opened to good reviews.

The concert show, which recently extended its run due to popular demand, is running at the Menier until 17 April 2022.

Award-winning West End actress Maria Friedman pays tribute to three great musicals composers she has both worked and become friends with: Stephen Sondheim, who died last year aged 91, Marvin Hamlisch and Michel Legrand. She performs songs penned by these three extraordinary composers, including Broadway Baby, Losing My Mind, A Piece Of Sky and Nothing – interspersed with personal memories and anecdotes.

Book tickets to Maria Friedman & Friends – Legacy at the Menier Chocolate Factory

Check out reviews from The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Stage.

Average Critics Rating
★★★★

Maria Friedman & Friends - Legacy reviews

The Times
★★★★

"Musical theatre’s most insightful star pays homage to the greats"

"Now that Barbara Cook is no longer with us it’s hard to think of anyone — apart from, perhaps, the great Amanda McBroom — who brings as much intelligence and insight to musical theatre songs as Maria Friedman."

"What you also get in her shows is a daring, occasionally discombobulating sense of spontaneity."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Guardian
★★★

"Who’s up for a cabaret lock-in?"

"Looking back at the work of Sondheim, Hamlisch and Legrand, with glorious songs and personal stories, this is a mixed bag of a show"

"Her voice is crystalline, quivering, silky, deep or high, as the song requires it; it is filled with all the hope and youth of a wannabe in Broadway Baby and driven by mournful knowing in Losing My Mind."

"There are solos and group numbers, the latter coming together gorgeously in Hamlisch’s I Hope I Get It and in Legrand’s The Windmills of Your Mind. But the various elements make for a mixed bag of a show: partly a look back to three extraordinary legacies, with Sondheim at the centre, and also something of a “Maria Friedman show”, with stories about her life, family, struggles and career highs. This is charming but sometimes cheesy in its self-celebratory tone."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Telegraph
★★★★

"It’s as if Sondheim is in the room with us – corny, but true"

"The Menier Chocolate Factory's touching tribute to the late musical-theatre genius sees Maria Friedman do him (and two other greats) proud"

"it’s a feast for Sondheim fans with a nice sprinkling of numbers from the other two, with a few surprises on top. Throw in affable chat and reminiscence, and the soirée risks over-stuffing its guests; but given how moreish Sondheim’s songs are, and how sating, it amounts to vital comfort food for these jittery times."

"We knew that Sondheim’s legacy was assured, but that point is further underlined by fresh-faced contributions from Friedman’s smiley son Alfie, virtuosic in a hectic sardonic number from Merrily; Indonesian sensation Desmonda Cathabel, giving an impeccable rendition of The Miller’s Son; and a choir from the Royal Academy of Music in the wistfully optimistic Our Time."

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
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The Stage
★★★

"Exudes energy like a firework"

"An indulgence, she calls it, and that’s the nail on the head really. For anyone who loves Sondheim, Hamlisch or Legrand – preferably all three – the hit list intercut with backstage anecdotes from Friedman’s relationships with the composers is soul sustenance. That indulgence will be just as alienating for anyone else; there’s a lot of "then Steve told me I was the best singer he’d ever heard and put me on a plane to New York".

"Friedman’s voice has occasional lapses, usually in the quieter passages, with notes that emerge awkwardly. It’s when songs reach their climaxes that she can comfortably belt. There’s always a sense that her huge personality and the set list of giant songs – Being Alive, The Way We Were – are desperate for a bigger room; the intimate parts are less effective."

"This irrepressible celebration, especially when sung by the younger singers, is a comforting reminder that the work is still with us and it’s in safe hands."

Tim Bano, The Stage
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📷 Main photo: Maria Friedman and Friends

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