Man Of Steal
Menier Chocolate Factory
Reviewed on Monday 13th April 2015
Often described as "one of the world’s greatest pickpocket entertainers", James Freedman has brought his new show Man of Steal to the Menier Chocolate Factory for a limited run of just six performances. Although everyone loves a hustler, I wasn't sure what to expect from Man of Steal. I sat nervously in the auditorium trusting no one, eagerly anticipating something spectacular.
Freedman came out and immediately developed a strong rapport with his audience. Throughout the course of the evening he educated us on the art of pickpocketing: from the the more traditional techniques of a waiter in Italy, to the modern day fraudsters using 'skimming' technology. It was cleverly delivered, informative fun.
Freedman dazzles with his photographic mind, light fingers and spontaneous patter. There are choreographed moments with his mannequin 'Fred' as well as more spontaneous and informal sections; the evening flows along seamlessly.
A more touching moment came when Freedman revealed why he initially got in to pick pocketing. It was an honest change of tone that really resonated with the audience. Be warned, there is a lot of audience participation; Freedman certainly highlights why his hands are insured for a whopping £1 million.
Perfectly timed at seventy-five minutes, my attention did not waiver for a second. Man of Steal is an eye opening show featuring slick design, music and delivery - everything is pitched perfectly. I found the experience remarkably educational and left the Menier feeling far more street wise... watch out London - I'm ready to hustle!
Reviewed by Joanne Hewes