By Bradley Storer
Let’s get one thing straight first off: Julie Andrews does not appear in this show.
This is the point that both British cabaret starlet Sarah-Louise Young and her accompanist make in the first five minutes of Julie, Madly, Deeply, a loving tribute to the musical/movie star who has touched the lives of so many.
After Andrews’ recent visit to Australia this show could not come at a more appropriate time. Over the course of an hour the audience is taken on a guided tour of Andrews’ life and career leading up to the present day, summoned up through a series of characters (and a grab-bag of comically mismatched accents) who all influenced the British legend in one way or another.
Young as a performer channels her own version of Andrews’ delightful open-heartedness, combined with a goofy comic physique, spritely choreography and a sunny soprano voice. Describing herself as Andrews’ number-one fan, dressed in an awkward pseudo-Maria von Trapp outfit and bobbed brown wig, Young’s adoration for her subject and love for sharing her with an audience creates an atmosphere of intense community.
A downside is that the charmed life of Dame Julie lacks the conflict and drama necessary to make it a truly compelling narrative, which subsequently means the show does not travel along a hugely satisfying dramatic arc. However Young does manage to find some darkness in the sugary sweetness – a manic medley of Andrews’ most famous songs is intercut with the heart-breaking inference that her busy schedule left Andrews no time to deal with the collapse of her first marriage.
Julie, Madly, Deeply is infused with a warmth and glow similar to the great lady herself, coupled with the songs that awaken the child inside any adult with a heart, making this a performance impossible not to enjoy.
VENUE: Chapel off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran
DATES: Friday 21 June – Saturday 22 June (plus post-performance Q&A with Sarah-Louise Young Sat 22nd at 3pm Matinee)
TIMES: 7:00pm Fri & Sat, 3:00pm
PRICE: $40 Full, $35 Concession