I had the absolute pleasure of watching Rosie Williamson’s What Would Julie Do? Live – Soldiers in Petticoats on 2nd August.
Part of the Pizza Express Live series, this was a cabaret style concert led by Rosie Williamson, described as an evening of “showtunes and self-help” all inspired by Dame Julie Andrews.
So if you know me at all, you’ll understand why this is RIGHT up my street and why I wanted to share how much I enjoyed it.
Rosie was joined by fellow “Julies” Lucy Clough, Elise Allanson, Rebecca Ridout and Joanna Thorne. Each one of them have such an individual sound and it was lovely to watch a concert with really diverse voices, where each performer confidently held their own as a soloist, yet flourished in the ensemble pieces too. The witty comedy numbers, with re-written lyrics to Julie Andrews classics such as “Just You Wait” from My Fair Lady, were definite crowd-pleasers and acted as Rosie’s self-professed feminist rant (but like, the best kind of feminist rant, don’t worry).
I have to applaud Musical Director Matthew Samer, who not only accompanied the concert (on an extremely lovely Steinway grand piano) with so much energy, but also wrote a show-stopping mashup of Beyoncé’s “Who Run The World?” and “Sister Suffragette” from Mary Poppins which was a definite highlight of the evening. I am a *huge* fan of clever musical mashups and they delivered the humour so well in this number.
The concert was also in aid of Cancer Research UK, which made Rebecca Ridout and Joanna Thorne’s rendition of “Some Things are Meant to be” all the more moving. I wasn’t expecting to get so emotional at this song as I’ve known it for so many years but yup…it got me good.
Act Two saw West End performer Lara Denning, currently appearing as Mrs Wormwood in Matilda, take the stage. If the audience wasn’t loving the evening enough already, Lara’s incredible stage presence and bubbly personality seemed to lift the energy even more. My personal favourite that she performed was Brunger and Cleary’s “New Best Friend” from The Secret Life of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4. Lara is such an engaging performer and was an excellent choice of guest for the evening.
I know I’ve used the word “energy” a lot, but there really was such a great atmosphere in the room. With Rosie’s words of wisdom woven in amidst the musical numbers, the evening truly highlighted not only the healing power of music, but music as a comedic tool, a vehicle for solidarity and a means of empowerment.
It was a wonderful mixture of funny, poignant and, if you ask me, practically perfect.
Olivia Rose 🌹
The next “What Would Julie Do?” concert is on Sunday 21st October at the Pheasantry in Chelsea, so make sure you catch the next one!
In addition to her concerts, you can also follow Rosie’s blog, which she states is her “little online space to share musings on living a happier, healthier life; inspired by Julie and other favourite things.” So what’s not to like about that? Go say hello!