Review – Julie Andrews: The Gift of Music

Sunday 9 May 2010

Julie Andrews The Gift of MusicShould you ever receive a gift from Julie Andrews be sure to ask for the receipt as you will almost certainly want to take it back and exchange it for something better.

In The Gift of Music at the O2 “musical icon and beloved actress” Julie Andrews returned to the UK stage for the first time in 30 years with a “special performance”.

As an opener she made reference to the 1997 botched throat operation after which she thought she would never sing again: “I can’t sing as high or as well as I used to, but I can still song the hell out of ‘Ol’ Man River!” she declared (actually, she said “Old”; her diction remains signally unbotched).

“Oooh, can’t wait for her to sing that,” said Andrew excitedly to his companion and fellow Julie Andrews fan Judy (Phil not making it due to a ticketing mix up), marvelling at her Darwinian adaptability to overcome her cruelly crippled singing voice and evolve into Paul Robeson. Perhaps there would be blacking up too? For it was all that old-fashioned. But we get ahead of ourselves.

But it turned out that the first half was to be songs from the canon of Rodgers & Hammerstein so no, she didn’t sing the hell out of “Ol’ Man River”. She didn’t sing the hell out of anything. She didn’t sing that much at all. The half-time count was;

  • 1 complete song – “My Funny Valentine” (actually Rodgers & Hart)
  • Half of “Impossible; It’s Possible” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1957 live-broadcast TV musical Cinderella.
  • Odd lines from a handful of others

Otherwise, the singing was taken care of by “an ensemble of 5 performers who have graced the West End and/or Broadway”.

Of course, we have only ourselves to blame. AGAIN we didn’t do our research. Miss Andrews’ miraculous vocal recovery is explained in this Telegraph article in which she reveals that “she has developed a “sing-speak” style and discovered bass notes which she did not previously use”. The technical term for “sing-speak”, of course, is “doing a Rex Harrison” and the technical term for “bass notes which she did not previously useis “singing like a navvy.”

It explains a lot but resulted in the most disconcertingly re-written melodies in which soaring notes were replaced by diving ones. The decision to include The Sound of Music‘s “Do-Re-Mi” in the show was quite baffling as it served merely to illustrate that Miss Andrews can not manage an entire octave.

All this would, of course, have simply been very sad were it not for the sleight-of-hand of the show’s marketing and the ticket prices. Andrew was at the back of the gods for £54 and about one mile away from the stage. For £12 he could have bought a souvenir brochure to see what the people on the stage looked like but by now he was being very wary of Miss Andrews’ “gifts”.

Of course there were things to enjoy: the sound of a large, live orchestra (in this case the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra) is always a treat but as concerts go, this really didn’t compare favourably with an average Friday Night Is Music Night recording with Kim Criswell at the Hackney Empire. It didn’t help that its Rodgers & Hammerstein theme came so soon after Maria Friedman’s and Daniel Evans‘ superior (children-on-stage notwithstanding) effort.

Andrew & Judy fled during the interval, bedding themselves down with a reviving drink in the O2’s Blueroom bar and licking their wounds. People made of sterner stuff were treated to Miss Andrews narrating the children’s book she wrote with her daughter followed by eight notes of Edelweiss and a standing ovation (our thanks to David Allardice for filling us in on Act 2).


The ushers are friendly and helpful but the policies are as draconian as air travel or (one imagines) a football stadium. Your bottle of water is confiscated when you enter. If you buy a bottle of water at a bar they remove the cap and refuse to let you have it. This, apparently, is “due to Health & Safety”. There is also a “no readmission” policy which means that smokers are unable to nip out to the smoking area in the interval which seems pretty harsh and unaccommodating, even in this day and age. Oh, and another thing about the O2:  if you hold the tickets and your friend is late you many NOT leave the ticket for them to pick up at the box office. Isn’t that nice?



129 Responses to “Review – Julie Andrews: The Gift of Music”

  1. Colin & Peter Says:

    Had she got up and conducted ‘sing-a-long-a-sound-of-music’ it would have been entertaining, as it was we left during the interval, much dispappointed for having paid £140 per ticket to be sat centre stage, 2nd row. The five singers that did the work we didn’t know. 90percent of the first act bore no reference to Julies’ life, the shows that we remembered her for, nor her life to date.

    We paid £18 pounds for two bottles of water and two hot sandwiches, ordered for a sandwich bar whose staff couldn’t understand the Queens English with the support of hands to illustrate the spoken word.

    Our experience? Julie Andrews we loved seeing YOU. We didn’t pay to be entertained by five semi-to-unknown performers and the Royal Philharmonic. Had we chosen to do so, we certainly wouldn’t have paid such a large sum of money to do so. We 100percent AGREE with the post written by the author, to which we feel we’ve added value!

  2. mrs spratt Says:

    Agree totally.I went last night..and I adore Julie but it was a disaster.Completely wrong Venue,wrong content and over indulgent in second half.Ms Andrews left singing mainly to a supporting Quintet.It was of course great seeing her,and the audience went wild when she “sang” but those moments were few and far between.The whole evening eventually sank with the musical adaptation of her and her daughter’s joint bookwriting effort of “Simeon’s Gift”. One hour of purgatory. I was sitting next to a gentleman who had flown in from Norway,had paid over £200 for his ticket but he was not aware of the actual programme.I assume most of the audience weren’t either taking into account the very muted response to 95% of the show. V disappointing. I think if this is going on worldwide Tour then prospective audiences should be made aware.We know Julies voice is no more,she admitted it herself.But the programme could perhaps have been a journey thru her remarkable career.

    Also I must moan at the arena (floor) seating. I’ve been in some cramped theatres and cinemas but none as uncomfortable as this.For £106 iwe should have had proper seating not that designed for dwarves.

  3. caitlin Says:

    We paid £107 each for our tickets, and we left at halftime too. What should have been a night to remember, ended up being one of immense disappointment. The so called ‘backing singers’ literally carried the show for Julie Andrews, who at times would even disappear off the stage! Even if Julie Andrews did not sing, I think I would have enjoyed it nevertheless if she had talked to the audience more, shared stories and funny anecdotes with us, and just walked down memory lane with us, instead of subjecting us to performances from her mini entourage of singers. We were 6 rows from the front, and were disappointed to see that every word she spoke, came from the cue cards below, stripping out any spontaneity from the experience. sigh, someone should advise her not to proceed with the world tour, this will ruin her legacy. let’s rem her the way she was in her youth. this is just heartbreaking.

  4. Grace Says:

    Well, contrary to other people’s opinions here, I had a brilliant evening. Too many people cleary came with too high an expectation. This is a woman who has not sung for 10 odd years and has had a vocal operation. The night was called, ‘THE GIFT OF MUSIC, A NIGHT WITH JULIE ANDREWS’, not ‘£30 Songs – Julie Andrews in concert’ – people came with expectations of her to be singing for 3 hours clearly, which was never implied, and nothing of the line up was stated, so I don’t understand why people feel so let down, nothing was ever promised, and people should just have not expected too much, I thought it would be obvious that a woman in her 70’s after a vocal operation was clearly not going to be able to belt her way through her classics. I feel so honoured and priveldged to have seen her on stage, and can completely justify the amount i spent.

    • Jackie Says:

      I did not expect Julie to sing for 3 hours! However I did expect her to be on-stage and involved in the performances for the majority of the evening. I also expected to hear more of the songs we associate with Julie Andrews. At the end of the first half she sang a song from Sound of Music with the support of the 5 friends and encouraged the audience to sing along. It was exactly what I expected, but sadly it happened only once!
      And the second half, I agree with Richard’s comment, “Who on earth thought telling an audience a children’s bedtime story was an acceptable form of entertainment?” I have never walked out of a show before, but I left after the first 10 minutes of the second half. I could not have stayed any longer! I feel very sorry for Dame Julie and I feel duped.

      • Kaite Says:

        Perhaps if you’d stuck around for the rest of the second half, you might have appreciated the Ian Fraser’s luscious orchestration.

        Then again, probably not.

    • leah Says:

      I agree,

      I don’t think it was what I expected, I still feel a little shocked to be honest but just being in the same room as julie Andrews made my night. I adore her and I find it hard to believe that anyone could be offended by her sharing the book she wrote with them. The music was amazing and the other singers were pretty good too.

      That said, a Mary poppins number would have been a real treat

    • Moira Grigg Says:

      I am appalled by the press reviews,they clearly did not understand the concept of the evening and what it meant to true fans. I like many others have waited for over thirty years for this wonderful occasion and I wasn’t disappointed,in fact I am still reallying from it. Julie’s stage presence alone is second to non, she moved around the stage with such grace & flair, she made it quite clear from the very outset that she would not be able sing very much, but what she did sing was in perfect pitch, and I felt humbled by it, hey I got to sing Do Re Me with Julie Andrews. Julie has shown us how she has moved on, by introducing us to “Simeon’s Gift” by telling us this wonderful story set to a beautiful score of music supported by the fantastic 5 who did a great job supporting Dame Julie throughout the evening. The only criticism I have is the Venue, for such a wonderful evening, it would have been better suited to The Royal Albert Hall. You can not put a price on an evening as wonderful as this THANK YOU DAME JULIE FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART THE STANDING OVATION SAYS IT ALL I THINK.

      • Linda Says:

        You took the words right out of my mouth I completley agree (and said the same about the singing!!). Three generations of my family went from age 74 to 17 and we all had a great time. She was careful to say in every interview what to expect. At every concert I have been to at the O2 people have left before the end however good it was and I have NEVER understood it. You are right the standing ovation is something I will remember for ever.

      • Linda Says:

        And another thing…why are people so horrible about the other singers who were all fab – or have you all watched too much x factor. They made me laugh out loud in the right places. I would give anything to be able to sing a quater as good as them.

    • paul Says:

      Not at all, I paid £100 a ticket for an evening with Julie Andrews, I know her voice is not what it used to be and when she did sing I was amazed how good it was.

      What I did pay for was an evening with Julie Andrews, not her introducing 5 toally un-heard of singers then her either sit at the side of the stage OR wander off stage totally.

      I would of been happy with more Video clips of Julie singing then her chatting about it, or the singers singing her most famous songs from her career, ie Mary Poppins, sound of Music, Victor Victoria and many other and her chatting about it, what I did expect was her to be on stage, be involved in the proceedings and it be relevent to her career.

      I am one of Julies biggest fans and felt totally let down by the evening, not demanding my money back but am feeling short changed and gutted.

  5. Grace Says:

    Oh and since when have song line ups/content been announced before shows? Those songs were chosen by Julie, which she wanted, and it saddens me that so many people came with expectations that she was going to serenade them for 3 hours…i mean…COME ON PEOPLE. She was never going to sing much, and the other songs performed/and the story was her choice, and what she wanted for the lineup of the evening, people should have come expecting nothing, knowing they could be paying to just see her in presence, and that she could not have sung at all, just picked various songs that she wanted to see sung. As it was, she did relate a lot of the songs back to her life, and past experiences. I think the people who left during the middle of the second half was the height of rudeness

    • Geoff Says:

      Grace : “people should have come expecting nothing” Seriously ?? 20,000 seats at an average of 50 quid a ticket is £1 million pounds in ticket sales for that one night….and people should expect nothing ??? I doubt anyone expected her to sing for 3 hours but the three minutes we got just wasn’t good enough. And if she’s going to put on a broadway medley then how about doing it well?

    • linda Says:

      It should have been billed as Julie Andrews HOSTS a night of music i know she would not sing all of the time but my niece paid £86 each for two birthday tickets 1 weeks wages! we had to stay over night as traveled a distance to see her i dont need to pay to see the Queen in her presence i feel really let down to what i thought was to be a great evening instead of reading or pluging her book her life story would have been a good listen

  6. Geoff Says:

    Oh dear….I love you Julie I really do but I don’t love paying over 100 quid for two tickets to see your cheesy stage show buddies sing Rogers and Hammerstein. Everyone loved it when you sang…we KNOW you had the operation….we KNOW you don’t have the range anymore…but we paid to see YOU. We left at half time too. If I wanted a west end musical I would have gone to one and for the money would have a seen a much better production. Sorry Julie but FAIL.

  7. Richard Says:

    This was dire, and no way to remember Julie, who on earth thought telling an audience a children’s bedtime story was an acceptable form of entertainment? I didn’t expect her to sing throughout the evening but i did think we would get something personal from Miss Andrews. Elaine Stritch can’t sing, but that didn’t stop her from providing a 3 and a half hour solo show that grabbed the audience and left us all thinking “what a dame!” I have never seen so many people walking out of a show, and sadly that was the most entertaining part of the evening. “The gift of Music?” in this case it was definitely better to give than receive

    • Jimmy Says:

      I am a regular visitor to the o2 having seen many shows there

      Julie Andrews was by a long way the worst show there was no indication that 5 other people were going to sing the majority of the show

      We left at half time people would have loved to have heard her sing bad voice or not.

      By the way Andy Williams is 82 aand still sings well and is a lot funnier catch him at glastonbury

  8. Caroline Says:

    I agree with all of the above except Grace, this was such a disappointing show, probably one of the worst thing I’ve had to sit through. My mum and I had been looking forward to ths for so months. We weren’t expecting her to sound as she did 50 years ago but even if she had made an effort to sing with her ‘backing singers’ the more poplular songs that she is known for it would have been bearable. I wanted to walk out but it would not have been so easy for disabled mother, instead I was bored to tears by this ridiculous childrens story. Sorry Julie – but I feel robbed of £200!

  9. Jo Freeman Says:

    The fact that Dame Julie had everyone in the palm of her hand as she walked out on stage with a standing ovation says it all about how people felt – I truly believe everyone would have accepted her speak-singing or singing in a lower octave with the backing vocals taking the higher harmonies (several artists tend to do this according to the interval conversation around us) but we wanted more of the familiar tunes from her incredible career, and humorous anctidotes of special memories. As it was the evening was a huge disappointment for such an icon adored by all and we too left half way through the second half if only not to add insult to injury by avoiding the queues at the end.

  10. Laura Says:

    Ok, so I was there at the O2 last night and I paid over £300 to take my grandmother, mother & myself. We ALL new that Julie was not going to sing much, and those of you that had bothered to read that it was an evening of entertainment WITH Julie would have understood what was going to happen! For those of you that left half way through your just rude. She is a legend and yes it wasnt the best show I’ve ever seen at the O2 but it was a once in a lifetime chance to see this amazing women in person, on stage giving the audience an evening of entertainment, using the voices of others to portray what she would have loved to have sung to us, My family and I found the whole thing quite moving. Obviously others out there didnt get what she was trying to say…! (I would also like to point out that this Women had her voice taken from her in a cruel act of fate… would you be so harsh if you saw a runner lose there legs.. and then get back up again and run with prosthetic legs? have a think about it. She got back up after all these years and showed us that Julie Andrews still has Spirit & Stage Presence, and is STILL a legend.) And have those who that have seen shows before have you ever seen standing ovation before & after the show? I know I haven’t.
    Thanks Julie for your gift we will treasure it always.

    • Davide Says:

      Agree with Laura- great evening and very enjoyable. A true priviledge to share a room with the Dame. A real shame that others didn’t “get” what the evening would entail.

    • sally Says:

      I agree with Laura and probably everybody else in the O2 last night, except these few people here who are possibly also the people who write up about the lack of bread rolls on trip advisor maybe? I also have never seen a show where someone got standing ovations before and after and the piece where we were all clapping and singing to Doe a Deer was sheer magic. I knew what to expect and Julie surpassed my expectations, taking everything into account that this wonderful woman has gone though, its so very easy to be critical. I am a regular show goer and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Once in a lifetime stuff that we’ll never forget, for all the right reasons.

      • melanie Says:

        get a life everyone it was a great concert julie andrews is insperational i enjoyed it and would go again

    • O.L. Says:

      I absolutely agree with you. I travelled from Portugal to watch the concert and I’ve loved it.Julie Andrews sang much better than I expected, considering her interviews presentig the show in which she clearly explained that was not a huge comeback to stage because that would be impossible.She also explained that she would sing-speak.In fact she did much more than that, because she managed to show that her magnificent and unique tone of voice is still there.The standing ovations she received prooves that.People should not forget the vocal chords problems she had to face; besides that, she is almost 75 years old, althouth that is difficult to believe.

  11. F Whates Says:

    I can’t believe people’s reaction to this, she is a living legend ! She HAS said she had a botched throat operation and anyone who is a fan would know this, I would happily pay to see Dame Julie on stage let alone be honoured by a few notes.

    • mrs spratt Says:

      did you go F Whates?. it appears not.some people wanted more of Julie and less of her quintet of nobodies for their £106.

      • Kaite Says:

        You may not like them, but they’re hardly nobodies! Don’t blame Julie for the fact that your knowledge of musical theatre doesn’t extend past a couple of famous films.

      • mrs spratt Says:

        Excuse me,I am probably a bigger fan of Ms Andrews than you,and know probably more about her repertoire.She had more than “a couple of famous films” for a start.The furore over the debacle of a show has been backed up by the Press reports.My newspaper on Saturday proclaimed in an interview with Ms Andrews that “I’m finally able to make my singing Comback”.As it has been said we didn’t expect much but got less than we bargained for.And the whole “Simeon’s Gift” was nauseating for a mature audience.

  12. Steve Says:

    I personally can’t believe that I paid £110 per ticket for that show. I was very disappointed. I certainly didn’t pay that amount to see the entire 2nd half promoting her book with OTHER singers – I wasn’t there for them! What a waste. Whilst I appreciate that she had major surgery and her voice isn’t what it used to be, for her to have her face pictured all over the marketing for this suggested that she might make a bit more of an attempt to at least sing along with some of the classics we know her from. At least sing parts of a song with the movie shown on the screens! MAKE AN EFFORT! I completely disagree with Laura’s post – I don’t need to spend this much money to see her show her continued stage presence. I could do that by watching a podcast or an episode of Oprah. Not at a major venue with major ticket prices.

  13. Kaite Says:

    Seriously?! She hasn’t sung that well in years, and I’d rather she only sing a few songs to the best of her ability than risk damaging her voice by pushing herself too hard. And ‘the ‘backing vocals’? We’re talking about major Broadway stars here! I’d pay to see Christiane Noll read the freaking phone book, so to get to see her and Julie duet was a treat.

    Whilst I wasn’t wild about the plot of the musical in the second act, the orchestration was luscious and made me wish that someone would rewrite the rather flimsy plot and make what could be a really good children’s musical. Any ‘comeback’ concert is going to involve a mixture of classics and the stuff the performer is working on at the moment, it’s to be expected.

    The reason the chosen venue was the O2 wasn’t purely to fleece audiences, but because Julie is a big star so this enables as many people to see her as possible.

    I for one had a great night, and those of us who bothered to stick around for the closing numbers weren’t disappointed:

    • Chelsea Says:

      I have to disagree Katie. My parents and I stayed the duration and I was not expecting to go to the O2 and see Julie Andrews sing like she used to, in fact I would have been happy to go and not hear her sing a note as being in the same room as her gave me Goosebumps and the sight of seeing her walk onto the stage brought tears to my eyes. However I did not go to the O2 expecting to see 5 cheesy ‘star guests’ over sing songs which are not so well associated with the Dame. I would have much preferred to go and see Julie go through her amazing life, sharing stories and monologues from her incredible life on stage and in film and maybe to hear the ‘stars’ sing a few songs to clips of film and stage alongside the amazing Royal Philharmonic. They carried the evening for me as they were second to none and just as incredible as I have seen them many times before.
      I feel the evening was strategically structured by keeping perhaps the two most anticipated songs right at the end of both halves to hold the audiences anticipation however, I feel the 5 stars killed these songs for me and I did not really enjoy them, although singing to DO-RE-MI with Julie’s sing-speak voice was, well, a once in a lifetime experience which I will never forget and treasure forever!.
      All in all I left the O2 with a very mixed feel, 1 being in ore of seeing and hearing a very gracious Julie Andrews on stage and the second feeling cheated and disappointed although I was very much aware I would not be seeing Julie Andrews belt songs of the past. Nevertheless I did not expect to see her sit under a spotlight and watch her songs be sung by inferior performers (who were undoubtedly talented but tried far too hard!). It must have been incredibly hard for Julie Andrews to sit and watch her songs be sung and it was a heart breaking sight which is why I feel she should not have sung at all unless it was just her singing songs (like my funny valentine which gave me shivers) which she showed she would be able to manage.
      I agree with your statement that any comeback concert is going to involve a mixture of new and old, but I was not impressed with the bedtime story which we were presented with which you called a ‘children’s musical’. I also disagree with your closing statement saying those who bothered to stick around for the closing numbers weren’t disappointed as I and many of the people around me were! Edelweiss, was rushed and extremely disheartening to those who sat through the story telling waiting for this final number. I have been for all my life, literally all my life, and will continue to be a massive fan of Julie Andrews and her work and I hope this has not damaged her reputation too much.

  14. Valerie Says:

    I feel like I was conned out of nearly £200 last night!

    I stayed to the bitter end hoping things could only get better – they didn’t.

    I hear that people were ‘trying’ to get refunds in the interval, why weren’t they successful? Is there anyway we can get out money back from this fiasco?

  15. Rick Says:

    I agree that Julie is a legend. I agree that it was nice just to see her. I agree that she is a legand and that her body of work and achievements is to be respected.
    But, I do not agree with anyone who agrees to splashing their name and face all over posters and advertising, which stated that she would be “joined on stage by” 5 other singers, only to find that I would be hearing them do 90% of the vocal work for the whole performance.
    Broadway stars or not, none of them could hold a candle to Julie Andrews in her prime, and I’d rather have heard Julie sing anything than put up with their cheesy, overstated, and condescending facial expressions.
    The whole concept of the show was just any excuse to use Julie’s name to fill a large arena and make some money.
    I’m very disappointed that a star of Julie Andrews’ calibre would allow agents and promoters to talk her into agreeing to take part in such an obvious scam.

  16. louise Says:

    i have to completly disagree with this article. i think it is a load of rubbish.

    if u are as u said a “fan” then u would have known about the event before u had atteneded it and actually realised that she wouldnt be singing as much as the press had thoguht before when it was origionally anounced.

    she did mention that she can sing the hell out of old man river yes, but also if u were a true “fan” then you woudl also have realised that she does mention that a lot, in meny interviews. she made no sujestion to the fact that she wodul infact be singing the song. Also what u have forgot to mention in this review is that she also sang the hell out of cock eyed optimist, actually sining the song much better than she has previously sang it. Including the recording of it on broadways fair Julie (cd).

    i serously cant see any problems at all in what she did last night she was absolutly amazing. You just needed to appresiate it a little bit more.

    • Kaite Says:

      oh, and Louise – I agree that last night’s version of ‘Cock-Eyed Optimist’ is better as well! That said, I’m still waiting to hear her sing ‘Old Man River’…

  17. Kaite Says:

    How is it a scam? There’s no way, as most of her fans know, that she could do much more than 10% of the singing by herself. I’m sorry that people feel ripped off, but I’m not sure what exactly they were expecting! I was surprised by the amount she sang, and by its quality.

  18. Valerie Says:

    I’ve just had a strange thought, and forgive me if I’m getting this totally wrong it is my first time on this site, but this IS the westendwhingers page. Surely by its definition that means people have come here to complain so how did those people who actually enjoyed the show end up here? Did they assume that people would be ‘whinging’ about the show? Why would that be if it was so brilliant?

  19. Janet Says:

    I paid to see Julie Andrews, not the 5 people she had singing for her. I would rather she had sat there and spoke about her life with added photos,video clips and funny anecdotes.
    I did not pay to see other people singing with the odd appearance from Dame Julie to introduce the next song

  20. Jimmy Says:

    For all the people who enjoyed the Julie Andrews show last night you need to get out more and get a life

  21. David Says:

    Sadly, I bought two tickets at Christmas via internet – for my sister and brother -in – law, we had seen Dame Julie live in the late 50,s in My Fair Lady Drury lane when in our teens.

    Due to unavoidable circumstances they ould not go, I tried to give the tickets away to friends about two weeks before – no takers Ebay? was clogged up with massively reduced tickest nearly 1,000 the fortnight before the event, and finally the website was offering massively reduced prices – quotaing the VolCan Ash and other reasons for cancellations and spare tickets.
    The internet booking system is a disaster they ignored my request to send the tickets to an address 225 miles from me – I had to spend extra Regsitering them to get them to their destination – when the tickest arrived and in all the booking info supplied doors open 6-30 pm and NO other Info – time of the length of show could not address transport due to this and eventualy through the website on the tickets I got a reply and then 24 hours before the show the timetable came on a round robin with no ability to reply? This morning an e-mail with a questionaire I had to lie on it to get in as a zero entry attending O2 blocked me – I persevered and they have my complaint – unlike the rest of youy I am just glad that all that travelling time train tickets and hotels cost was not added to what would have been an unmitigated disaster I just hope Dame Julie’s advisers cancel the world tour and let us rememebr her as she and is an icon in the music world. AEG and O2 really need to get it sorted following the Whitney Houston dibacle and now this they will feel people power at its worst.

    • Kaite Says:

      People comparing it to Whitney Houston’s recent performance really make me wish that Julie had shown up drunk off her ass. It would have been HILARIOUS, and given people even more to complain about!

      • Chelsea Says:

        Katie people are not complaining about Julie Andrews they are complaining about the production and how it was definitely not what it said on the tin!

  22. Arty Says:

    A little bit harsh there Jimmy.
    The main stars (the “backing singers”) are all fantastic performers and well known and extreemly respected broadway/westend stars. Although at times they were FAR too tacky and telling a kids story to the o2 arena was a ridiculous idea and really really couldn’t have worked.

    I too feel disappointed that Julie put her name and face to something that really wasn’t everything it should have been… I had read the articles beforehand and knew she wouldn’t be singing much but i expected her to do something ANYTHING on stage rather than walk off and leave us wondering when the next video clip of her singing would be up.

    I had front row seats on the third level and thankfully only paid £30 so don’t feel too duped …

    Really it’s a shame.. what she did sing was fab when she did speak she had us rivited however this was in total probably close to 20 minutes of a show and making us wait half an hour to see this too :S really not touring material.

    Nevertheless she is a brilliant gift to music and to the stage but should have been more involved in her show.

    It’s a shame but i don’t think i would have left halfway more out of pity than anything :S

    • Jimmy Says:

      ha ha well thats what i feel she went throught he motions never broke into a sweat kept walking of stage easy money

      • Kaite Says:

        “Easy money”? It was a huge vocal effort on her part, as evidenced by the few moments her voice went. Most performers take a few breaks between numbers, let alone when they’re well into their seventies and have frakked-up vocal chords.

        She’s stated repeatedly how much she loves and misses singing – if she could have managed it, I’m sure she’d have done more, but it’s not as though the audience didn’t know what they were getting.

      • Jimmy Says:

        katie a million pounds at the box office for very little effort try telling that to most people who get up every day to work

      • Kaite Says:

        She’s a performer with certain limitations, she did a good show within said limitations. She’s a big name star, so she’s going to get paid a lot of money for it.

  23. Kate Says:

    Oh my, this is a tricky one….FYI, I ended up here via a google search for Julie Andrews reviews so I haven’t come here solely to moan…but…

    See, I love Julie Andrews. I mean, she is one of my icons. I clicked onto this page resting on my Sound of Music mousemat. So, she could have come on and farted and I still would have been amazed to be in the same room as her.

    But, I agree with some of the comments above. It just wasn’t the show it could have been. I think it was clear that she was nervous about her vice and how much she could physically sing, hence all the failsafe options built in. I think if she’d realised how much people wanted to see HER rather than technically good singing, the show would have been very different. I can’t hold a grudge – I just can’t. There were moments of pure magic (mainly do re mi and edelweiss) but there should have been more. And lose Simeon’s gift. No, really….

    So, in conclusion, I’m very glad I saw her and that she even sang a little bit…but it could have been so much better…

  24. Janet Says:

    yes Kate people wanted to see HER.
    she could have come on and told her life story with pictures, video clips and anecdotes even if she didn’t sing just her telling her life story would have been enough. we all paid money to see her not the backing singers

    • Kaite Says:

      Speak for yourself! I went knowing exactly what the show would involve, because she’s done it in the States to great acclaim. Don’t bitch just because you didn’t bother to find out what the show was going to involve.

      • Janet Says:

        Actually Katie we knew that she wasn’t going to sing much, which is fine but I would have actually liked to have listened to her at least speak rather than just introducing songs. We are not bitching because she didn’t sing, we are’ bitching’ as you put it because we paid alot of money to see an icon on stage and we didn’t get that!

      • Kaite Says:

        I would have liked more of that too, but it was billed as ‘The Gift of Music’, not ‘Julie Andrews Wanders Down Memory Lane’.

        We paid to see her sing live. She sang, she introduced some fabulous music, she introduced us to the latest phase in her career (which is apparently writing slightly iffy children’s musicals). I get people rolling their eyes about it, but she was perfectly within her rights to do that.

  25. Rebecca Says:

    To all of those above who think that we expected too much you are misunderstanding what our greivances are.

    Firstly, let me say that I am a massive fan and completely understand that, for various reasons, Julie does not have the same voice as before- which I’m really sorry for- but that is not the whole story. I, personally, would not have cared if she had not sung at all- just that she was there, told us a few stories, made us laugh, and we generally got to see the wonderful performer we all know and love.

    The real greivance comes from the fact that she did not cover any of the material that we all know and love and that we were all expecting. I know it was not billed as a “Sound of Music Sing-Alongs-Songs” but to only do a couple of songs that anyone in the audience even recognised was ludicrous! If I went to see any other performer, even if they were promoting a new album/ previously unheard material, it would be unthinkable that they would not cover the songs that made thier name and attracted the fans in the first place.

    Surely Dame Julie could see that the only time the audience were at all responsive was when Do-Ray-Mi came on! THAT was the Dame Julie I was expecting- and to be fair I wasn’t too bothered that she didn’t sing it on her own. As many people have commented, the five other performers were excellent talents, just as it was quite obvious that the orchestra and conductor were first class.

    In a different argument the second half was an absolute disgrace. I walked out after about twenty minutes of “Simeon’s Gift”, which is something I’ve never done before. I was really sorry that I was not staying to see more of Dame Julie and that I felt it was disrespectful to her- as I am such a massive fan of her and her music. But, it was disgraceful that she should be do disrespectful to us!!

    Nonewithstanding the actual quality of this second half performace (which I’m sure we’ll ALL agree was shockingly poor), I DID NOT PAY TO SEE A PANTOMIME! And, I certainly wouldn’t pay the amount I did for my ticket to be in the audience for a children’t book story- even if Julie Andrews was in it!

    I was astounded that this was put on- what was Julie (and her management thinking)?? After all the years of supporting her- buying her films and music- I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! WHO HAS EVEN HEARD OF THIS BOOK!?! It’s not as if she would have struggled to find good material to fill up the second half with!

    Overall, I was thoroughly dissappointed and will try and get my money back.

    I think that all those who are dissatisfied should all pressure the production company to get refunds as I think there is a lot more power in a larger group. I would even be willing to write in to Watchdog to get this sorted out as we spent SO MUCH money on this night! I will certainly contact watchdog and encourage others to do the same as the more complaints they get, the more likely they are to help us get our money back.

    I’m really sorry that it was not the amazing night that me and my family had so hoped for. I am obviously still a great fan of Julie, but I have come away feeling dissappointed and a little cheated.

    It could have been so great!

    • Kaite Says:

      It’s Rogers and Hammerstein! None of the songs last night were exactly obscure. She’s not a one-trick pony, she did have a career post SOM. When you go to see a performer, you have to accept that you don’t have control over their setlist.

      • Jimmy Says:

        i suppose julies farts dont smell either

      • Paola Says:

        Yes, but why limit the songs to Rodgers and Hammerstein/Hart? There are thousands of songs she could have chosen, especially those associated with the great Dame herself. Also, although everyone keeps saying that the ‘backing singers’ were famous stars of the stage, I didn’t know any of them and why should UK audiences be expected to know Broadway performers? Prominent West End theatre stars would have made a difference to me, if 99% of the show was to be in their hands… The women, in my opinion, were too old to perform most of the songs and the Do-Re-Mi rendition with them acting like children was nauseating. After the first half with only one full song being performed by Julie, I didn’t want to stay for Simeon’s Gift, but my ticket had been a present, so it would have been terribly rude to leave. However, for the promoters to allow this self-indulgent project to go ahead is a travesty.
        Dame Julie, you had us in the palm of your hand, and then you let us all down…

    • Arty Says:

      rebecca i do have a couple of problems here, you claim you’re a massive julie fan and have her films but yet you didn’t know the classic roger and hammerstein songs (all of them fairly well known apart from the cinderella stuff) and you hadn’t heard of simeon’s gift?
      This book’s been out for quite a while :S i wish you the best with writing to watchdog i presonally have sent an email to the o2 and to her company meerly saying how much of a shame it was that julie wasn’t on for that long doing anything.

    • Viv Says:

      I completely agree with your comments. After the show the word that sprang to mind was “conned”. I’ve never been so disappointed by a live show and I’ve never seen to many people walk out of a show. The songs Julie did sing on her own I loved. I didn’t come all the way from Edinburgh and pay £106 per ticket to listen to her “special guests”. I hadn’t heard of any of them. Were their names used on any promotional material? We played Trivial Pursuits on my mobile phone in the second half. Being an adult I had no interest in seeing/hearing a children’s story no matter who wrote it. I still love Julie Andrews though but I do feel conned out of a lot of money. I’m going to see if I can get a refund.

      • Jimmy Says:

        if you was playing trivial pursuit on your phone the hardest catogery to get must have been entertainment surely

    • Jill Says:

      Oh how I agree.
      I have LOVED Julie since I was 6. My daughter bought me a ticket for Christmas knowing I would be thrilled. I travelled over 300 miles, drove my fellow passengers mad with my excitement, but was sooo disappointed. My idol has fallen big time. I would not have cared that she could not sing much, she could have told her life story etc. It would not have been quite so bad if she hadn’t kept leaving the stage. I feel conned and let down. At 50 years old I should know better and not feel as heart broken as I do. I too left at half time I could stand it no longer – and I have never left anything before the end thinking it would be too rude, but I don’t care. Julie was greedy and misleading by promoting a concert that she hardly participated in

    • Lisa Says:

      I have to agree with you Rebecca.

      I went with a friend & we paid £140 each for our tickets. I was so excited to be going to see her. I like everyone else knew of her misfortune with the botched throat operation & did not expect her to sing for the whole concert nor unaided at times.

      Like most people here, I did not expect to pay that kind of money to hear people I hadnt heard of sing over 90% of the programme. I would not have paid £140 for a ticket if that had been the case nor would the promoters have been able to charge that kind of money. For large periods of the first half Julie even left the stage.

      I still think she is a Lady & has great grace & warmth. I am not criticising her, nor, do I think anyone else is here even if I/we feel as though we have been conned moenywise. But, I do not feel that the promoters were entirely honest. Yes, there would be other performers. Yes, she would narrate Simeons Gift. What they didnt say was that Julie would just introduce the other singers & they would perform the bulk of the show. Or, that the entire second half would be the narration of her book.

      I would have been quite happy to have listened to her talk or entertain us with anicdotes. She has an easy charm & warmth, the love for her in the audience was palpable.

      I am an adult, like the majority of the audience I did not pay an exhorbitant fee to listen to a childrens tale. I can do that at home when I read to my daughter. I think the second half was a serious misjudgment.

      I also have to agree with the comment about the gold dress. She is a very elegant & still attractive lady. The dress did not really flatter.

      I just feel disappointed, maybe, my expectations where to high? I am glad I can say I actually saw Julie Andrews on stage. But, I didnt recognise a lot of the songs in the first half & found them a little downbeat. Like the song Jubilant sang from Carousel. That is subjective of course.

  26. Aardvark Says:

    I understand where the disappointment (and anger!) is coming from. Look, this show in the exact same format has been performed in the US to rousing, unanimous success in several states, all done with a minimum of publicity. The only trouble with the 02 concert is that it was never what AEG was making it out to be. The publicity was very misleading. The show in its original format was never meant to be a comeback, or even mainly a tribute to her career. It was an Evening WITH Julie Andrews and not necessarily OF Julie Andrews. While I did not get to see the show live when it was performed in the US I am familiar with it via. video clips etc and I do adore it. And I do like Simeon’s Gift, which was always meant for a smaller, intimate setting… not for the 02 Arena! I think it’s a lovely show- but obviously AEG was telling audiences they were going to get apples, when they were going to get oranges.
    I too have to disagree with the previous post on the supposed obscurity of the songs- R&H was always a part of her concert repertoire BEYOND the Sound of Music. Most musical theatre fans would be familiar with them.

  27. Kaite's ex-husband Says:

    Kaite is a brain-damaged kid who doesn’t get out much. Julie Andrews is her wholelife. I think she will start stalking Julie from hereon.

  28. Mr. Plummer Says:

    What a rip off… Can’t believe people enjoyed this tripe. Sadly julie could of broken wind into a microphone and the uber fans would of wooped with pleasure . Give me my money back!!!

  29. Jordan Says:

    Please join my facebook group “I want a refund for The Gift of Music, An Evening with Julie Andrews” – I’ve left it open for anyone to join – There’s strength in numbers

  30. gregory samuel Says:

    i do agree with you , Julie should have been singing or trying to sing all the way through the show encompassing all her films and stage shows, not boring us with Simeons gift and those other performers. She was merely a compere throughout . A major disappointment, i agree a refund should be given, especially as I paid £84.75 each for three tickets with a service charge included.

    • Iris Says:

      Trying to sing ALL THE WAY through the show? Wow, you must have lived on another planet since 1997. Do you even know who she is?

  31. Valerie Says:

    Succinctly put Rebecca!

    Jordan, I’m not on facebook, is there anywhere else I can ‘sign up’.

    I emailed the 02 who replied that they had passed it on to the promoters. I would be very interested to see what they have to say about it, probably nothing.

    I did read on the Telegraph website that “AEG, which operates the O2, said that all claims for refunds would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but insisted that the marketing for the show had made clear that Dame Julie’s solo singing would make up only a small element of the show”

    I don’t agree with their comments re the marketing and I’m not holding my breath over the refunds on a case-by-case basis. How are they going to work it, do you think?

    Viv, I wish I’d known about your Trivial Pursuit game, we could all have joined in,lol.

  32. Jenny Atkin Says:

    Well I thought considering she has lost her ‘gift’, it was a pretty big thing for her to get on a stage in front of thousands of fans and admit defeat, which in my opinion she did really graciously. Not really sure what you were expecting (did she evber say she could do a full octave – no, did she say she’d only doi songs from SOM – no. Did she say she was telling the story Simeon’s gift – yes), maybe you’re all just stupid (apart from Katie).
    Maybe when you lose your fingers and can’t type this rubbish anymore you might be able to empathise with her. See you at the O2.

  33. Laura's mum Says:

    My ticket was a lovely present from my daughter, who over the years like me have watched Julie Andrews on film from a far. This was a once in a life time experience and i feel very priviledged to have been in the audience.

    I feel sad for those of you who just didnt understand the meaning of the show – never mind maybe if you get your refunds you can spend it on something more suitable for small minded people.

    • Janet Says:

      I think everyone felt priviledged to See Julie Andrews on stage, the actual problem is that we were all mislead by the promoters of the show as they were claiming it was her comeback.

      We knew her voice isn’t what it used to be but the way it was promoted let us to believe otherwise.
      Even the Daily Telegraph in an article published on the 4th May called it her comeback concert, so its the promoters who are at fault.

  34. Brianna Says:

    Really!?! I would like to see you sing any of those songs without having had a botched surgery. I paid well over £100 for floor seats and enjoyed every minute and believed it was worth every penny. She looked fantastic, sounded fabulous and put on a great show. It was a beautiful tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein and although the 5 performers were generally unknown by most if you are not immersed in the theatre, they did well. Certainly some were far superior over others, but they all performed admirably.
    As for the second half, I feel it was refreshing to have new music and lyrics and a fresh story! Who cares if it was for children?! The message was beautiful and heart-warming.
    And for those who left during the intermission-shame on you! That is a disgrace to a living legend and is extremely rude.
    I will forever remember last nights performance and hold it in high regard.

  35. Sadie Says:

    I went last night, not really knowing what to expect. She’s my childhood idol from Mary Poppins and the Sound of Music- I’ve listened to her all 24 years of my life! haha. I was just happy to be in the same room as her. She’s amazing and that made it for me. I didn’t care that she could only hit a few notes and that other people did a lot of the singing- she was there!. Yer, I would have enjoyed a sing-a-long with her and the audience more maybe a couple more SOM and M.P. songs but just to be in the same room as her was enough for me (even though we were at the back and she looked like an ant and we couldn’t barely see the screen!) Way I see it is a once in a life time opportunity. I’d give it 5/5 for her being there! Congratulations Julie!

  36. flatnote Says:

    How lovely and quaint that people are willing to hand over large sums of money to watch a badly produced show. The second half has to go down as the most self indulgent nonsense I’ve ever had to witness in 40 years.
    As a huge fan of Julies work, I get the impression that she must be surrounded by alot of yes people who didnt point out that the show just wasnt strong enough..
    And whoever sent her out in that gold frock in the first half should be put up against a wall and shot. How on earth they could make such an elegant woman look like a size 18 toffee wrapper.
    Julie we love you,but you need to sack yout team

    • Viv Says:

      Ha ha ha Valerie, love your comment. I won the Trivial Pursuit game so the night wasn’t a complete loss.

  37. Viv Says:

    Julie’s dress for the second half was much more elegant and flattering than the gold number in the first half.

  38. Edward Weston Says:

    Very sad evening at O2 last night, the saddest thing is that after last night’s debacle (or ‘car crash’)were Miss Andrews to return to the UK with another show any time soon she’d have difficulty filling a London Underground carriage never mind the O2 Arena!

    I do not blame her but the greedy promoters who put the show on in the first place.

    Good luck to everyone who tries for a refund. The problem will be that technically she did actually ‘sing’. Well, sort of………With those rip-off seat prices you’d never know that we were about to enter a grim period pay cuts and three million unemployed but, hell, why should the promoters worry, they’re laughing all the way to their offshore bank accounts.

  39. The one with the Welsh woman in it Says:

    I think it’s amazing how many people are whinging about the second half – did you not read any of the interviews or read the O2’s wesbite (see below) – This has already been out in America and yet no one seems to have the ability to read reviews to know what was happening at this event.

    The Telegraph interview doesn’t say it’s a “comeback concert” They say it’s international concert tour. Everyone who is a fan of Dame Julie will know that surgery lost most of her singing voice – If Julie’s voice had suddenly come back I would be expecting to see it on the BBC news!!!
    There is no way that Julie Andrews can sing the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein as they should be sung and it’s a celebration of their work not just the Sound of Music!!!

    From Telegraph article – “I hope I’ll have a few surprises up my sleeve for the concert, but basically I have about five good bass notes and I can work my way around them pretty well,” she said. “I also employ that Rex Harrison sing-speak kind of voice. I narrate a lot, I tell tales, I show a great deal of footage, and I’ll be with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and will be helped by five Broadway entertainers.”

    The show, which she intends to take on an international tour after London, is called The Gift of Music and the first half of the evening will be devoted to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein; the second half is based on a book called Simeon’s Gift, which Andrews wrote with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton.

    and the advertisement on the O2 website –

    The event will be hosted at The O2 arena on Saturday, 8 May and will consist of gifts of music old and new – performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein classics, as well as the musical adaptation and her live narration of “Simeon’s Gift”, the best selling children’s book written by Julie and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton.

    Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and conductor Ian Fraser, Ms. Andrews will be joined on stage with an ensemble of 5 performers who have graced the West End and/or Broadway. Together they will take the audience on a nostalgic trip featuring clips, memories and songs of great musical theater that will include material from “The Sound of Music”, “The King and I”, “South Pacific” and “Carousel”.

    As for “loads” of people leaving during the interval – shame you didn’t all leave the O2 and go home as it took me 50 minutes to get to Westminster and that’s with me barging past everyone(apologies if I cut anyone up).

  40. Kate Says:

    I thought that this was a very disappointing evening and left feeling thoroughly ripped off.

    After a slow start, I was hoping for an evening with Julie Andrews singing the songs we know and love. I would not have minded her having the five backing singers to help her out – I know about the surgery and I was not expecting to hear the voice from the Sound of Music – but for her to leave the stage for several songs made me feeling very cheated. I certainly wouldn’t have paid £112 pounds to see five singers I’ve never heard (who I thought were excellent, as it happens) sing selections from Rogers and Hammerstein. I also thought that they could have chosen considerably better material but that’s a matter of personal opinion.

    The second half I thought was a total con. I understand that it was a book written by Julie Andrews but it wasn’t what I believed I was paying so much money to go and see. At least she remained on the stage but I found myself willing it to end because it was frankly embarrassing to watch, especially considering the number of people that left (and I did seriously consider it to avoid the usual rush for trains). I stayed in the hope that there would be some kind of encore that would redeem the situation. There wasn’t. They sang a couple of better songs at the end but it was the five helpers doing the bulk of the singing.

    It’s tragic that her voice was damaged by surgery, but if she does not have the stamina or the voice to carry a 2 hour solo show then she probably shouldn’t be having a come back tour and charging such extortionate prices for tickets. At best I’d say it was cynical and very misleading marketting. I will be asking for a refund.

  41. Roy Tan Says:

    Last year Ms Andrews told ITV ‘This Morning’ and all the press what to be expected in her show ( check it out on you tube ) – first part a tribute to Rogers and Hammerstein and she will ONLY sing a few songs. Second part about the book she wrote with guest singing some songs. That’s excatly what she did. How lucky we can see her on stage !!!

    • Viv Says:

      The interview on This Morning was two weeks after I’d bought my tickets unfortunately. Wish I’d seen it first then I wouldn’t have wasted £214.50 for two tickets.

  42. Louise Says:

    I think that all of u people have completly missunderstood the meaning of the show ! It wasn’t ment as her cum back and julie and her people have never said that. In fact in recent interviews she has said that it’s not a come back and that’s she won’t be wining much. I think it’s obsolutly terrible that many of u have asked for a refund u should all be honoured to have seen a true ledgend on the stage. Clearly u don’t deserve to have been at the show!
    I for one hope that she does not ever have the chance to see some o the remarks made her on the page, people wonder why she does more in america and not here ! Well this is why, the americans would never treat her with such dissrespect !

    And as for what an I doing her iwas also looking for reviews on last nights show as I enjoyed it more than anything I have ever seen before. And that bloody facebook group! Seriously GROW UP !!!

  43. […] Review – Julie Andrews: The Gift of Music Should you ever receive a gift from Julie Andrews be sure to ask for the receipt as you will almost certainly want to ta […] […]

  44. Naomi Says:

    I booked not quite knowing what to expect and have to say I thought the whole thing was incredibly surreal. I knew about her vocal problems and so wasn’t expecting her to sing at all. I guess I was expecting her to walk us through the life and career of Julie Andrews. I think if she had done that it would have been a very entertaining evening. She didn’t need to sing at all but a canter through her career interspersed with film clips and anecdotes about her career with singers singing her best numbers would have been just fine with me. As it was the whole thing was just really quite uncomfortable to watch – I felt embarrassed for all concerned.

    The first half was little more than a Friday Night is Music Night devoted to Rogers & Hammerstein. The Broadway singers doing all the leg work were very talented performers but unfortunately it was clear that 99% of the audience had absolutely no clue who they were and the incredibly muted response to each of their numbers was really awkward.This pretty much reached its nadir with the awful Cinderella number. Why didn’t the producers use homegrown talent with built in fanbases if they were going to do 99% of the work? I mean do a Sound of Music section and trot on Connie Fisher or feature any of the talented actresses who played Mary Poppins in the West End but to have 5 actors hardly anyone knew singing songs completely unconnected to Julie Andrews was truly bizarre.

    And as for the second half…. In fairness the musical was decently done and strongly performed but a children’s musical in the O2 aimed at an adult audience? Really? Can I have some of what the producers were smoking please? There was a steady trickle of people leaving throughout the second half and I have to say had I been on the end of a row I would have gone. As it is I just sat there utterly bewildered at the car crash in front of me and wondering whether I’d inhaled hallucinogens on the way in. It was an experience certainly…but not one I would ever want to repeat.

  45. Abbie Says:

    I found the whole thing rather bittersweet. I did know what to expect and am familiar with Simeon’s Gift – I read it to my daughter so was not surprised at its saccharine theme. I did enjoy the evening and that included Simeon’s Gift, but the O2 was not the right venue for this show, it should have been far more intimate. I do agree that more anecdotes and audience participation would have made the show better. I loved the songs Julie did sing but in some ways they made me feel quite miserable because it was like hearing the ghost of what once was.

    I’m not remotely sorry I went and do not feel I wasted my money at all, but I must agree that the gold dress should be burnt immediately so that she can resist the urge to wear it ever again.

    • Iris Says:

      LOL @ the dress comment. We were joking before the show that she might wear gloves. Thankfully she remained a fashioncriminal 🙂 She was true to herself, horrible gold dress and all, and I love her for it.

      • Denny Says:

        She should be prosecuted for crimes against fashion..who in God’s name decided to wrap her up in gold foil and make her look like a size 18 chocolate – mind you when it comes to fashion Miss A does have a penchant for tin foil concoctions – her Sound of Christmas TV Special dress a good few years ago made her look like an oven ready the O2 was another turkey in her resume.

  46. Nina Says:

    Wow! 77 comments – is this a record for the Whingers? It is just like being on the Whatsonstage “discussion” board – unfortunately!

  47. The Von Trapp Family Singers Says:

    We were not expecting Dame Julie to sing for the full 2 hours and knew the vocal range was limited, but we did not expect to see a set consisting of three unironed curtains – almost Brechtian in its minimalism, cheap-looking costumes that Christopher Biggins wouldn’t even wear in panto, poor choice of songs from the R&H back catalogue and for Dame Julie to wander off stage for 10 minutes. We spoke to a number of people who like us left at the interval. All were disappointed. As a vaudville veteran Dame Julie of all people should know that you are only as good as your last performance and this was no way to put on a show and entertain your fans. It was dated, clunky, cheap, cheesey, boring, awkward and lazy – certainly words we would never associate with our super trouper. Please Dame Julie rethink the production before you take this anywhere else. We don’t want our money back, we want our wonderful Julie back!

    • Jimmy Says:

      be a nice gesture if she gave money back to fans

      tickets for gorillaz at o2 go on sale next week much better show and cheaper

    • mrs spratt Says:

      Julie should cobble together a new show where she reminisces about her long and varied career with film clips,anecdotes or just reads the phone book and does it for ticketholders free gratis and as a geture of goodwill at the same venue,and AEG should provide it free.

  48. Iris Says:

    I saw the show last night and left feeling:
    * extremely happy that I was finally able to see her on a stage
    * embarressed for all the people leaving during the show
    * baffled to find out there were so many of you out that:
    A> claim to be big fans
    B> but you spent THAT mumch money on a ticket and you don’t know that
    – she can’t really sing anymore
    – and you didn’t bother to check what you were going to see.
    She clearly said in several interviews what she was going to do. I knew before I booked my ticket, hotel and flight that she was not going to sing more than a few lines, that she would have other singers there, and that she was going to do something with the book in the second half of the evening.

    Mostly I feel a strange mix of being happy to have seen her, and sad the know that she can’t sing anymore. I don’t think I want to know what it feels like to stand on a stage and hear other people sing your songs.

    Edelweiss brought me to tears. This because it brings back so many memories, but also because she simply couldn’t sing it herself anymore. I truely believe that singingwise she gave us all she could. There was nothing else left to give. To each his own opinion if she should have offered this ‘gift’ or not.

    The bad reviews make me sad as well. I think she deserves better. The music to Simeon’s gift was fantastic, but I can understand it when people say ‘that’s not what I came for’. I would have paid to hear her read the yellow pages (no joke), and if it had been my choice, it would have been the yellow pages, and not Simeon’s gift. Simply to have seen and heard more of her. I understand though, that she as the writer, and knowing her limitations with regards to singing, thought she was doing us a favor.

    I am happy that I took this opportunity to see her. I love you Jools!

    • Louise Says:

      That is exaclly the way I felt and I know the people I was with felt the same way. I cryed most of te way through all her singing parts. Because it is def something that I would never be able to see ever! Live or on cd expesially after her operaion.

      I am completly honoured to have been able to share the night with eveyone that enjoyed the evening including … Elizabeth Taylor and rupert Everett ( who were both in the audience)

  49. tex Says:

    Like many of you on here, I too left feeling very disappointed. I didn’t expect her to sing for 2 hours but did not expect what we got. To be honest, I thought the first half was OK and I would have been happy (though not ecstatic) had the second half been more of the same. But the second half was dire. I was embarrassed for all the people walking out but had I not been in the centre of a row, I probably would have too. I have never walked out of a concert/show/gig before but it was THAT painful. It certainly wasn’t worth the £70 ticket + booking fee.

  50. Paul Says:

    None of this would have been a problem if the greedy producers had chosen to advertise it correctly. Had they called it “Julie Andrews hosts A Gift Of Music”….or “A Gift Of Music introduced by Julie Andrews” then people whould have been fairly warned about it was going to be. As it is they went with a highly ambiguous title, packed out the O2 and made a mint. Funny that.

  51. Pixie Spencer Says:

    I was so delighted to be in the same space a Julie Andrews that I can forgive the secong half(spenct a lot of it surveying the crowd & orchestra through my binoculars!)I was moved to tears when she sang as it was obvious that her voice was no where near what it had been, I know she went to grief counselling after losing it & can see why! I do not feel cheated as I saw GMTV interview where she explained exactly wjat she was going to be doing. Simeons gift was mediocre & I would have happily forgone it & come away satisfied after the first half & a singalong Doh Ray me & eidelweiss! Still a massive fan , have been for 50 years & thrilled to have finally seen her ive!!

  52. Maria Says:

    Who knows the best way to complain and get a response and refund. This was a total rip off and we did not expect to see unknown singers on stage in place of Julie.

    A real disgrace.

    • Jenny Says:

      Why did you not expect this? It was made perfectly clear.
      Also I’d be interested to know what you did expect from a 74 year old woman who has lost her singing voice.
      Send answers on a postcard to the O2.
      And maybe take a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

      • Jimmy Says:

        she may have lost her voice but got atwelve million pound pay out frank sinatra spoke all his words towards the end but people came to here him speaking or not not others

  53. Philk Says:

    Wow, heading to 100 comments. Whingers, you have started what we call a ‘Heated Debate’

  54. John Says:

    So 100 comments later, and having read most of them I have to agree with the majority and say without doubt this was the most dire show I have ever attended!
    You can blame whoever you like, promoters, the o2 etc, but I have to say (even though most people won’t like it) that the buck has to stop with julie Andrews herself.
    She must have been more than aware how the event was being promoted and marketed and also must have had a major if not total imput into the content of the show.
    Even if she was unaware that this was mediocre fare, then surely her musical advisors/management should have had their suspicions well before this event took to the stage…

  55. PLMartz Says:

    At the age of 74, Julie Andrews has given her “Gift of Music” to her “ensemble of performers”. She has given her vocal chords to provide you with the “Sound of Music” for decades. She has entertained audiences since she was fourteen. Every person in the world singing every song Julie Andrews ever sang during her tremendous 60 year career…has Julie Andrews to thank! You bought this ticket to show your appreciation of Julie Andrews’ lifetime of “The Gift of Music”.
    She put the “Do” in “Do-Re-Mi.” The least you can do is be grateful…and stop grading her by your dough.

    • Tex Says:

      ‘You bought this ticket to show your appreciation of Julie Andrews’ lifetime of “The Gift of Music”.’

      Er…No. I bought this ticket believing I was going to be entertained and have an enjoyable experience. Sadly, I ended up with neither. I did not buy a ticket simply to bask in her majesty.

  56. Brendan Says:

    Sorry to burst your bubbles everyone but Julie lost her voice due to pure financial greed.
    There were two options available for her voice. The quick risky operation or the slower, safer rehab.
    Money talks and the comeback of Victor/Victoria was calling so slice slice slice went the scalpel.

    And the money kept rolling in despite the botch factor.

    Had Andrews not been so greedy she could’ve sung those songs in the O2 as they were meant too. As it is she’s still collecting your pounds regardless.

    There’s a sucker born every minute.

    • Iris Says:

      That’s BS. No more words needed.

    • Elaine Says:

      I don’t really think that’s whats in question here Brendan. I have read all of the above and the majority of Fans feel cheated and that’s sad. Julie was interviewed on Morning Television a couple of months ago and she made it quite clear what sort of show it was going to be. That said, I still believed that we were going to be treated to renditions from the two most favourite and popular musicals, namely TSOM and MP, the two which I believe made her more famous than any of the others. I did not enjoy the songs she sung, and I absolutely hated the second half. Dame Julie, in my opinion would be expecting the reviews she got the next day. Did anyone notice that the standing ovation she got prior to speaking a word sadly was not there at the end of the show … I wonder why. I paid £180 a ticket, air fares and hotel. A lot of money to be disappointed in the lady I held in such high esteem since the age of 9 when I first saw TSOM. On a lighter note, was nice to sing doh, ray, me with her.

  57. lapponia Says:

    Reading most of the comments above, all I can say is that reactions to this event seem to be about high expectations being disappointed. I read in advance about the concept (being suspicious of her ability to sing for a full 3 hours after botched vocal surgery), so I was only slightly disappointed that she sang so little. When she did sing (esp. My Funny Valentine), the quality was still there, if not the old range – I think she might have attempted just a little more.
    Nevertheless, the main reason I went with my elderly mother was just TO BE THERE, and her stage presence is still full of warmth and charm. I flew over and stayed in a hotel, so it was a lot to pay to hear her sing so little, but as an EXPERIENCE it was wonderful (especially for my Mum).

    One final point – you would think that, in this age of Twitter and the internet, people would have the sense to inform themselves about an event before committing to buying tickets.

  58. Ernest Says:

    This backlash is totally out of proportion and fuelled by a handful of meanspirited people supported by the usual tabloids. The overall show was good enough and Andrews was as stellar as ever (operation or no operation). Instead of playing safe and sing all of her hits, she gave the audience a few and then offered the wonderful songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein + her own play set to music, supported by a wonderful orchestra and 5 Broadway stars to sing the notes she is no longer capable of. One is allowed not to like it but if one should ask for a refund every time they don’t like a show they would practically go to the theatre for free, which is exactly what these few scavengers are after! If you watch videos on YouTube you see the final standing ovation (one of many) in which a packed arena is yelling praise, clapping hands and stomping feet! They didn’t seem to want a refund then!

    • Iris Says:

      hear hear

      • Jimmy Says:

        Total rubbish i am a regular at the o2 and can honestly say this is the worst show i have ever seen there.I have never ever asked for a refund this could be a first.This thing may go down well in the USA but not here.This even made the barbera streisand show look cheap,julie could have played the bagpipes that night you would have still gone bonkers one consolation she wont be doing it again.THE TILLS ARE ALIVE

        Hot of the press Tony Bennett at the albert hall reading mr tickle in july
        people are not expected to check out papers tv shows to know what its about ticket is very misleading

    • Ernest Says:

      The fact that you are a regular at the O2 speaks for itself!

      • Jimmy Says:

        you have lost me there mate i have seen many excellent and value for money shows there saturdays was not one of them

  59. Denny Says:

    Totally wrong venue and misguided venture. Not for the first time in her career Miss Andrews has been let down by her Management and Advisors. The only surprising thing was the fact that her husband, Blake Edwards wasn’t involved in the project as that is usually the curse that afflicts her profesionally and blighted her latter career. Simeon’s Gift, the vanity publishing project by Julie and her daughter and musicalized (if that’s the right word) by ‘Team Andrews’ Musical Director, Ian Fraser. What WERE they thinking in presenting that. Even as an end of term Primary School show it would have been torture but it would have been free and not £100 or so a ticket adding a reported £250.000 to the riches of Julie Andrews.

  60. Viv Says:

    Apparently Watchdog has received numerous complaints. It could be on tonight – BBC1 8pm.

  61. Bob Says:

    I am surprised Marni Nixon’s name has not been mentioned yet, as a way to make Ms. Andrews sing, sing, sing.

    At her tender age of almost 75, even without the botched vocal cords operation one should not expect her to be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and if anyone expected her to sound as she used to some twenty, thirty, forty or even fifty years ago – well what to say but “Tough luck”. But, I do not think it is clever of her to sing at this age, and to try to revive her career, she does not need it, even if this is her farewell tour.

  62. The Julie Andrews concert was addressed on last night’s Watchdog which you can see here for the next week:

    The section on Julie Andrews begins 15:30 in.

  63. SarahB Says:

    This is so sad (on so many levels). I wonder if its similar to the “concert” she did in Philadelphia last year – I didn’t hear about it until it had already passed, otherwise I would have gone (and probably been disappointed). At a recent Sondheim concert, there was a recording of her singing a short phrase from Not a Day Goes By – it actually sounded great, but it was only about 5 or 6 words.

  64. Liz Says:

    I came all the way from Hungary and waited for 6 years to finally meet her and all I can say is… The concert was simply AMAZING!!!!! It worth every penny I spent. Singing with her Do-Re-Mi was a moment I will cherish forever, frankly those 3 minutes worth all the way to London and back… =) She looked absolutely stunning, frankly Julie is more and more beautiful as time goes by…=) She has grace, she has style, she is a real legend!!!
    We sat on level 4, very high, but we had a great view to the stage and… we could see her backstage!!! The whole concert started with the Sound of Music “I know I will hear what I heard before…. and I will sing once more” then she came in…=) The second half was about Simeon’s Gift, personally I do not like musicals too much, but this one was simply wonderful!!!
    So I was absolutely HAPPY =) about the concert!!!!!… Julie you were absolutely amazing and we love you! =) =) =)

  65. I think the promoters are the ones that people should be directing their vitriol at, rather than Julie Andrews herself. However, having said that, what she SHOULD have done is offered an evening’s entertaiment in another way. She’s had a long, varied and fascinating career in the West End, on Broadway and in Holywood and rather than attempting to make this a concert, could have held everybody completely spellbound with “backstage” stories and reminiscences about the films and shows she worked on, in the manner of her autobiography (which, disappointly, ends just as she is contracted by Disney to play Mary Poppins) OK, this format doesnt work for everyone (shirley Jones, for example) but this, creatively written and staged, could have made it far more of “an evening” than her trying and failing to croak out “Getting to know you”.

  66. Naomi Says:


    those of you who expected a big song and dance from julie were foolish from the start. if you had done your research and knew ANYTHING about singing, you would know that julie had a voice operation and could not sing in her wonderful wide range anymore, OR for very long. THIS is why she had five singers with her, because her voice simply could not hold a show alone. of course i am dissapointed that it was a bit more of a rodgers and hammerstein evening than a julie andrews one, but when she came on the stage at the start singing ‘the sound of music’, it took my breath away. i cried for much of the show simply because i was able to see julie in the flesh, one of my dreams since childhood. even sone hundred yards away i could see her beauty and grace, there is no other woman with elegance like hers.

    i was only dissapointed there was no more sound of music and no mary poppins whatsoever, and although it was unlikely i would like to have heard the main song from thoroughly modern millie. the reason she had these singers was because she could not sing an entire performance, and people should have realised that. they were all stunning singers, particularly the bass who had a gorgeous voice, and i thought it was a good idea they got in such good singers to help her.

    those of you that left in the interval are foolish too. why pay all that money you are complaining about ‘wasting’ when you were going to throw half of it away anyway! if you were paying that much to see julie andrews, you should have cared about her enough to stay for the second half. it thought it was an interesting touch, she showed us a more personal side to her, by narrating the story she wrote with her daughter. people forget she wrote a lot of books, and so both singing AND writing should come together in ‘an evening with julie andrews’. the music composed to accompany the reading was wonderful, magical, and i sobbed my heart out at the end with ‘edelweiss’.

    i appreciated every single moment of it, and those of you whinging about prices and seating should be ashamed – you knew what you were paying to see, don’t complain now!

    • Valerie Says:

      “…….but when she came on the stage at the start singing ‘the sound of music’, it took my breath away”

      Really? I must have missed that bit, I thought it was a FILM!

      We did NOT know what we were paying to see otherwise we wouldn’t have done so.

      All the content (or lack thereof) aside the sound was terrible. I have no idea what the ‘soldiers’ were singing in the 2nd half, not one word, and we were repeatedly being blinded by the overstage lighting. Something which is totally unacceptable anywhere outside a church hall AmDram production!

      • Iris Says:

        So next time, check what you’re paying for, BEFORE you buy a ticket. It’ll save you the money, and us your bitching.

  67. Valerie Says:

    That’s not bitching, my dear. In fact the only spiteful and personal comments are being made by the so-called ‘fans’!

    I can’t/couldn’t check out the sound and lighting beforehand. I don’t work there.

    I have been to a concert at the 02 before and they didn’t have a problem with the sound or lighting then. It was reasonable of me to expect the same thing again, wouldn’t you say?

  68. So, to sum up. Some people were quite happy with what they saw, some people weren’t happy with what they saw and some people didn’t see it but strongly opine that any perceived deficiencies in the evening’s entertainment are due to the unreasonable expectations of the audience members.

    Sadly I think this spirited debate is now merely going round in circles. In fact it has been for weeks so – for the time being at least – I’m going to close this post off to further comments.

  69. […] the Manchester Gaumont with Mary Poppins playing next door. Apart from this, can there be such a thing as too much Julie […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: