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The Fabulous Marielle at the Fabulous Barricade – a Friday Evening Amusement

May 17, 2015

La Barricade

La Barricade

PARIS – Sheridan Morley, the theatre critic and playwright, once summed up the life and nature of Noël Coward in the title of his biography of the same Englishman stage performer and playwright: “A Talent to Amuse.” I would choose that same phrase to describe the music, lyrics and stage presence of the singer pianist, Marielle Tognazzoni, whose show at the intimate “La Barricade” venue I attended on Friday evening.

I have put up some videos on this blog in the past of Marielle jamming away at the piano at the open mic of the Baroc on Tuesday nights, and it is clear there that she has a fabulous ability to play entertaining piano. She also sings occasionally at the Baroc, and when not there just to accompany other musicians, she even sings some of her own songs. But at the Barricade on Friday, she strung together a whole set and a half of her own compositions, a rollicking, rolling, fun collection of tales and statements that can so aptly be said to constitute a talent to amuse.

Marielle is a consummate show woman, sensing when there may be a lull in the audience enthusiasm, and filling it with just the right hook to drag us back into her music and lyrics. And her ability to draw the spectators into audience participation is done with a light, sure touch that truly invites rather than cajoles.

Introducing La Barricade (to readers of this blog)

I was also really pleased to have attended her show to discover for the first time this incredibly cozy little venue, La Barricade bar and restaurant on a side road in Belleville with a small ground floor set of tables, and two little rooms with vaulted ceilings in the basement. The theater is in one of these rooms, and can seat only around 25 to 30 people maximum. It has good acoustics, and nice theater backdrop, and a piano and amazingly good – if ridiculously simple – sound system.

Spectators may sit on either the cinema seats along the left wall, or the benches lined up in the middle of the room, that feel like church pews. But the vibe in the basement of the Barricade was anything but church-like on Friday. Definitely worth another visit during the other regular musical evenings, this is clearly a venue where the owners love music and spectacle.

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