The promoters for Julie Andrews‘ London comeback are considering demands for refunds after she sang just two solo songs.
Andrews’ return to the London stage after 30 years prompted complaints from fans. Some tickets cost more than £100 ($148) and a number of the 14,000 audience members had traveled from Europe for the one-off London show. Celebrity fans included Elizabeth Taylor, former Bond girl Honor Blackman and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Andrews’ comeback at the O2 Arena on May 8 was billed as “An Evening with Julie Andrews,” and publicity material for the show noted that the tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein would feature her alongside five younger Broadway singers and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Early on, the 74-year-old also referred to the 1997 throat operation that damaged her voice, and admitted that “I certainly don’t sing as high or as well” as her on-screen performance in “The Sound of Music.”
Andrews sang – in a noticeably lower range – solo renditions of “A Cockeyed Optimist” from “South Pacific” and “My Funny Valentine” from “Babes In Arms” and joined in on “Do-Re-Mi” and “Edelweiss,” among others. She was able to get through the songs by avoiding the high notes, but much of the show was left to the other performers.
During the second half, she only narrated a dramatic musical staging of “Simeon’s Gift,” a children’s book she co-wrote with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, which clearly bored the audience.
AEG, which operates the O2 Arena, has issued a joint statement with Raymond Gubbay and Marshall Arts: “The promoters of the show are disappointed that some fans were not happy with An Evening With Julie Andrews. She received a standing ovation at the beginning of the evening and at the end. We will look at all complaints on a case-by-case basis and reply to all fans directly.”
There was no comment on the number of complaints or requests for refunds.