The film has stood the test of time, and is still a magnificent example of story-telling of a very high quality, embodying something essentially valuable about the human spirit. If I ever find myself low in spirits (thankfully rarely!) I know that watching Julie and the cast will lift my heart. Some years ago, when Martin and I visited Salzburg with our infant son, we may have tested our Bavarian friends' patience beyond endurance by bursting into song all over town, and I recently got very over-excited when I was told by a distant cousin that my father's five-times removed cousins actually live in a Schloss in Salzburg where part of the film was shot. Whoohoo!
I went to the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge last night to see Julie Madly Deeply, a wonderful evening of cabaret starring Sarah-Louise Young, ably supported on piano by Michael Roulston, her musical director. I'd have resisted anything that had a whiff of snideness about Julie Andrews, but on reading that "this is a delightfully funny, candid love letter to a true show business survivor", I booked right away! It was a great show. We went with two gay friends, seasoned devotees of musical theatre, and they too were so happy to have seen it. The show has been a huge hit in the West End, and is now on tour, opening in Belfast last week, and it was a tribute to Sarah-Louise that by the end of the evening she had warmed up a reserved Kent audience into a loved-up group, who floated out of the theatre on huge smiles!
At one point in the evening, Sarah-Louise asked if there was anyone in the audience who had seen Julie Andrews in the theatre. Last night there were two: a lady who had seen her in pantomime at the Palladium, when both she and Julie were 11 years old, inspiring her to sing in amateur choirs throughout the following decades, and another, who had seen Julie in My Fair Lady at Drury Lane, doubly memorable as it was on the eve of the Bay of Pigs crisis.
Most of us know Julie Andrews best from Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music and, latterly, The Princess Diaries, but it was great to hear something about the intervening years. We were told that she will be visiting the UK in May. Sarah-Louise has never met her in person, and you can't help hoping that Julie might pop over before then to see the show incognito!
Meantime, if you're a SoM fan, I can highly recommend you book up for a date on the rest of the tour (see the website below for venues) - I promise, you won't be disappointed!