By Julie Clare Productions
This captivating comedy cabaret, written and performed by Sarah-Lousie Young, directed by Russell Lucas and accompanied by Michael Rouslton on piano, delights the Brighton Fringe crowd with a sassy and sideways looks at Julie Andrews career and the nature of what it is to be her super-fan.
With a mighty piano opening, Roulston sets the stage for Young (Fascinating Aida, An Evening Without Kate Bush, La Soirée, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical) to wow as a young Julie.
Intertwining funny stories about Young’s connection to and love for Julie, as well as asking the audience for their anecdotes too, the piece explores the highs and lows of the showbiz Dame’s life and career so far.
Starting as a child, Andrews’ stepfather spotted her talent young. Being incorporated into the family vaudeville outfit, she soon garnered attention and by 1948 became the youngest artist to perform by Royal command, aged twelve. We learn not all was plain sailing for the star, as by then she was also the main family breadwinner, which placed immense pressure on the teen, especially as she had a complex and abusive relationship with her mother and stepfather.
Young uses several engaging and funny devices to tell Dame Andrews’ tale. She plays a series of comedy characters who are key figures in Julie’s life such as her singing teacher, theatre impresarios and showbiz rivals, Audrey Hepburn and Liz Minnelli. All are hilarious, sending the audience into fits of laughter. She does a vocal montage of Julie’s early career performed as if it were a commentary on a horse race and there are several interludes from a warped Pathe News announcer called Edwina Trump, bringing us further Andrews news. All the people, whether fictitious or factual, are fabulous portrayed.
Young is a great comedic performer, she is often using her well honed improvisational skills in crowd participation and doesn’t miss a beat in this self assured and scrupulously devised piece.
Of course the Andrews’ cannon of songs take centre stage, with Young and Roulston charging through all the greats from musicals including Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady. It is a celebration of all things Julie; a love letter to a national treasure.
Roulston plays piano fantastically throughout the show and there is a light deftness to his playing. He is a good foil for Young; his deadpan facial expressions and dry wit bouncing off his partner’s exuberance and charm.
Inevitably ending on a singalong, the audience love every minute of this vibrant performance. For anyone who loves Julie Andrews, or even those who have been dragged along by Julie fans, this is a wonderfully entertaining and funny night of cabaret. Go and see it when you have the chance.
Reviewed on 13th June