Julie, Madly, Deeply Gilded Balloon

This is a must see show for all fans of Julie Andrews and there are a lot of us. One of her biggest fans is Sarah Louise Young, West End musical performer and member of musical comedy group Fascinating Aida, who has written and stars in this tribute to the grand dame of musical theatre. As a young girl, Sarah saw Julie perform at the O2 in the 1990s when, following throat surgery, her voice was no longer what it was. She asked the audience if anyone else had seen Julie live and was mightily impressed by the man who had seen her on Broadway in Victor/ Victoria. For the rest of us, we know and love Julie above all from two musical films – Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music but she also had a long and hugely successful musical theatre career and starred in many more serious and not so serious films – Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, 10, and The Princess Diaries to name but a few.

Sarah takes us through Julie’s life in storytelling and song, accompanied on the piano by Michael Roulston. Her incredible singing talent was recognised at an early age, she could sing in four octaves at the age of nine and she performed with the family variety act before her Broadway debut in The Boyfriend at the age of 18. A stellar career in theatre followed in musicals such as My Fair Lady where she played the role of Eliza Doolittle over 3000 times but was unforgivably overlooked for the part in the film version in favour of Audrey Hepburn. It’s not a dry biography – Sarah cleverly tells us the story in snippets of song – for example she uses the format of the Ascot scene from MFL to present her journey to the top as a hilarious horse race. We cover Julie’s film career and the moment when she shocked her legions of fans by going topless in husband Blake Edwards’ film S.O.B. It showed Julie wasn’t afraid to try something new and didn’t want to be typecast forever as the goody two shoes Mary Poppins.

We get all the best songs – Do Re Mi where the audience are encouraged to join in, a wonderful Feed the Birds, Wouldn’t it be Luvverly and to top it all, at the end we have a singalong encore featuring a medley of her biggest hits. Unsurprisingly everyone knows all of the words and belt them out with gusto. A supercalifragilisticexpialidocious show!

Irene Brownlee