Crazy Coqs, London
Julie Madly Deeply is a technically brilliant performance from Sarah-Louise Young that charts the life of possibly the queen of our national treasures, Julie Andrews. A self-confessed fan and devotee, with a knowledge of both Andrews’ life and repertoire that is arguably unsurpassed, Young’s whirlwind performance has criss-crossed the Atlantic, with this three-day residency at The Crazy Coqs marking the show’s return to the capital.
Accompanied by Michael Roulston on piano, the act, even down to the patter, is meticulously rehearsed and delivered – and as a modestly-sized stage show Julie Madly Deeply deserves its acclaim. But as a cabaret act it misses the mark. Good cabaret should work around the fourth wall but here, and almost throughout, a bewigged Young hides behind that blasted wall giving us little more than a virtuoso acting performance, even if she does occasionally lapse into a hybrid of Princess Diana crossed with Norman Bates.
Notwithstanding that Young’s flawless singing and mimicry is spot on (her Liza Minelli is a treat) there is virtually no spontaneity to be found here, nor much sincere interaction with her audience. And over those late night cocktails and g&t’s, does one really need, for an eleven o’clock number and with a heartbreaking accuracy, an impersonation of Andrews’ latter day voice, ravaged following her vocal-chord surgery, singing a plaintively muted Edleweiss? I’m not so sure
On twitter, Young sports the disarmingly self-deprecating title of Cabaret Whore. Actually, with her direction of the sensational Miss-Leading Ladies barely three months ago, she has proved she’s a cabaret genius. Julie Madly Deeply is a finely honed work of musical and theatrical excellence that would be best served the other side of Piccadilly Circus amidst the bijou intimacy of the Jermyn Street Theatre. But as cabaret, it’s whored.
Runs until 14th November