With Julie Andrews having just adorned the Adelaide Festival stage a couple of weeks ago, it seems very fitting that the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is presenting Julie Madly Deeply.
As presented by English comedienne/actor/cabaret performer Sarah-Louise Young, the show is a light-hearted but very loving look at Ms Mary Poppins/Maria Von Trapp herself, Julie Andrews.
The fact that there is something a little different about this production is evident from the overture beginning with the twittering birds of the Sound Of Music film soundtrack followed by the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare played on the piano. Ms Young then comes running in ala famous Austrian Alps shot, channelling Andrews.
From this opening, the audience are taken on a chronological ride through Ms Andrews’ life, from her birth in 1935 through to present day with her throat troubles and comeback appearances (not forgetting to mention baring her breasts in the film S.O.B along the way).
A variety of clever ideas are used in this telling: snippets of various songs from just about all Ms Andrews’ stage shows and films (although Darling Lili is notably missing); comical but sometimes eerily accurate impressions of important people in the performer’s life (Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minelli, producer Cy Fuer (who Young admits sounds very like Liza). Director Moss Hart and those pesky hung-over penguins from Mary Poppins); in-jokes such as Andrews being given an imaginary bouquet of flowers and finding out they were for Marnie Nixon (the singing voice behind Audrey Hepburn’s ‘film’ Eliza in My Fair Lady); Julie’s life from age 13 to 18 performed as a race call involving another filly, Petula Clark; a discordant medley depicting the performer’s breakdown; and Young reciting actual speeches given by Andrews throughout her career (such as her Academy Award acceptance speech for Mary Poppins and the interview she gave to the press when her voice gave out).
Pianist Nigel (last name not given) plays wonderfully, having a great rapport with Young, even though they only met a couple of days ago, and he sings well, having a solo number with “How To Handle A Woman” (from Camelot) and sharing a duet with her, “You And Me” (from the stage version of Victor/Victoria).
Although not what a few people would expect, Julie Madly Deeply is a great tribute to a lady who has sung her way into many hearts, including that of Sarah-Louise Young.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 19 – 20 June 2013
Duration: 1hr 10mins
Tickets: $29.90 – $39.90
Bookings: Book at BASS
Photo credit: Barry Alsop