Julie Madly Deeply

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Over the past few years, Sarah-Louise Young has established herself as a Fringe favourite with her ‘Cabaret Whore’ shows, musical character-comedy pieces in which she plays, and sings, as a Piaf manqué, a country-and-western good time gal, a Broadway diva of a certain age et al. Directed by Russell Lucas, this show, like those, is created with her co-songwriter and accompanist Michael Roulston and shares their wit and well-turned formal accomplishment, but marks a departure. Young plays (a version of) herself and tells us a single story: that of Julie Andrews. ‘Julie, Madly, Deeply’ aims to reclaim Andrews from the stereotype of saccharine sentimentality and the show’s emphasis on her precocity, resilience and willingness to experiment is both rounding and heartening if hardly radically revisionist or provocative. More than anything, it’s a teatime tour de force for Young, whose love for and affinity with Andrews is aptly realised through her pin-sharp diction, superbly controlled voice and dextrous character work alongside narration judiciously larded with biographical gobbets: in between inventive bits of comedy, mime, dance and of course song, she gives us music-hall, newsreel, Broadway and Hollywood types, plus nifty Hepburn and Minnelli impressions to boot. The one person she rarely impersonates in this pacy, heartfelt and hugely accomplished hour is Andrews herself – the mark, one feels, of one disciplined, passionate and terrifically talented trouper’s respect for another.