When I read the description of this show, I was excited to see it. It sounded like an interesting story about growing up and how different people in your life can influence you. I was quite underwhelmed with the result.
The venue was tiny, so the actress barely had any space to move, and in my opinion, she could have put the show on just as well without the furniture and props, allowing her more space to move around instead.
My main problem with the use of the space was the lighting. The venue seemed to be lit by two standard lights with a shade, similar to that that you may find in a bedroom. Unfortunately, the angle the lights were at and the space her furniture took up meant that the further stage right she moved, for example every time she went to sit on or stand behind the chair, she was no longer lit and was often thrown into total darkness. This somewhat ruined the tone of a quite serious and potentially emotional show.
The saving grace of this show, in my opinion, was hearing little snippets of Julie Andrews. I was surprised at first when a clip of ‘Do Re Mi’ was played and the actress didn’t sing it. However, as the show progressed, she would sing with the sound clips, and by the end she was singing some bits without the actual song as a backing. Unfortunately, Julie Andrews has a very beautiful and quite distinctive voice, so most people singing alongside her will pale in comparison, and this was no exception.
Perhaps it was the difference in cultural upbringing or our age, but I failed to really identify with the show. In particular I didn’t understand at times how Julie Andrews linked in. I genuinely think this story is very interesting, but I often found myself wondering when the show would end.
Overall, this has the potential to be a rather intriguing and moving piece, which instead felt overworked and overcrowded, especially with the props and furniture involved. I admire what this piece was trying to do, but I can’t say I enjoyed it as I was hoping I would.
Being Julie Andrews is on at 17:00 on Saturday 5th May and at 12:30 on Sunday 6th May at Junkyard Dogs. For more information, click here.
On 6 May 2018, 08:43 John Bowman commented:
It's a shame the reviewer couldn't entirely understand how Julie Andrews' dramatic offerings had helped the performer through her life. Then again, the review's integrity is seriously undermined by the errors over one of the songs featured. "Doh A Dear"? D'oh – and, indeed, oh dear! (It’s “Do-Re-Mi” – and the relevant line is “Doe: a deer”.) I went to the 5pm performance on Saturday, where the technical difficulties highlighted seemed to have been resolved. Personally, I thought it was extremely good – variously poignant, touching and funny, with a liberal sprinkling of gut-wrenching sucker punches, while the intimacy of the venue merely heightened the emotional intensity. The reviewer also misses another major point of the production, by the way, by unfairly comparing the performer's singing (strong and wistful, in my humble opinion) to that of Andrews. In essence, though, the show is indeed possibly more meaningful to people who can identify with the music and the times.
On 6 May 2018, 09:00 John Bowman commented:
Nicely quick work in correcting the song title :)
On 6 May 2018, 09:03 Jo Nead Contributor commented:
Thank you for your comment. First of all, thank you for highlighting my spelling mistake, I should have looked up the song before simply writing the most well-known line in, and have now corrected this oversight.
I am incredibly pleased to hear that the technical difficulties of the show had been resolved since I saw it and that you enjoyed it so much.
My reason for comparing the actress' voice to that of Julie Andrews was solely because she sang along to a backing track, and whether it was down to first night nerves or not, it was noticeable that she could not sing as well as Julie Andrews. This may never have even occurred to me if she had just sung to the backing music or by herself, as she did later in the show. This was merely an observation on my part.
I'm sure you'll agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that not everyone will enjoy every piece of theatre they see, and the article above simply states my opinions on the show. I am pleased you enjoyed it so much and were able to identify with it better than I could.
On 6 May 2018, 09:47 John Bowman commented:
Hi Jo. Thanks for your reply and for clarifying your point about the vocal performance. Yes, I totally agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion. As you say, any perceived shortcomings were probably down to nerves - it's certainly a brave person who sings along with Julie in public :) Best wishes.