Wilma’s Rating **
Running until 4th January 2014
I was so excited to see a Julie Andrews cabaret transfer into the West End after playing at the Edinburgh fringe festival. I wanted to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with musicals all over again with this Julie Andrews fans take on this incredible woman’s life.
Sarah Louise Young’s comedy opening line is that she is not in fact the real Julie Andrews and just a big fan of her work. She goes on to read a touching letter she wrote to Julie as a child, asking her to come and live with her and her father. Apparently she never replied!
A show like this should be very clear in its structure. You are telling the story of this woman’s life and people (well me at least) expect to hear the songs made famous by this person and the story around the songs (and what was happening in that persons life at the time). I recently saw Piaf at the Cockpit Theatre which was perfectly structured and even though I don’t speak French (I just let the funky music do the talking, as Girls Aloud once said) I felt I understood every word of every song because of the story that was told around it. Sadly, I left Julie, Madly, Deeply, confused and bewildered. Yes, it covered parts of Julie Andrews life but the key moments that everyone was there to hear about (The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins) seemed to go by almost un-noticed in the show.
When the best part of a show is the comedy musical director (Michael Roulston) then you know you have problems. Sadly, I’m still not sure if I was watching a Julie Andrews cabaret or a Liza Minelli show. The show has been padded out to go from an Edinburgh fringe show to a full length West End production and I wonder if perhaps it would have been better left the way it was.
A noble attempt to pay homage to your idol but if I’d have paid £30 to see this, it would have taken more than a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.