Julie Andrews not all sweet like sugar

She swears, shouts and likes a good game of “rugger” – screen star Julie Andrews has revealed she’s not always as sweet as a spoonful of sugar.

The veteran Mary Poppins and Sound of Music star is in New Zealand for her latest stage show, An Evening with Julie Andrews, which plays tomorrow.

It is her first visit to the country.

At a media call this morning Andrews told reporters she was “thrilled” to be in Auckland.

During the 45-minute session Andrews was quizzed by journalists about her life and career which has now spanned six decades. The 77-year-old first began performing on Broadway aged 12.

“I thought I was simply just a flash in the pan,” she said.

“I thought if I was lucky it would maybe last a year.

“It’s been a phenomenal life. I’m very, very fortunate and I know it.”

The Dame also fielded questions on rapping (tried it, not a fan), her favourite modern artists (Norah Jones, Beyonce) and her plans for retirement (none).

Asked what the “naughtiest” thing she’d done was, Andrews demurred (much in the style you’d imagine Maria from the Sound of Music to answer the same question) but admitted she sometimes let her language slip.

“I occasionally drop a good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon four-letter word when things get tough,” she said.

Andrews managed to come away from the interview without being asked about either weather or what she thought about “clean green” New Zealand – but couldn’t escape the inevitable question about rugby.

Luckily, Andrews knew all about the upcoming All Blacks vs France game this weekend and proclaimed, with a hand to her forehead: “That’s going to be such a match.”

She then told how once, after finishing performing the New York season of My Fair Lady and before starting the next round, she had taken a break in Paris with her family.

During the holiday, her father travelled to Paris with the British “rugger” team, Andrews said, and made friends with the captain.

He struck a deal, promising that if the captain could get tickets to the game, he could get tickets to Andrews’ London show.

“And so we went to the match and were rooting for England at the time but they had put us in French seats,” Andrews said.

“I was going, ‘go, go!’ and being tremendously vocal about it but my dad was saying ‘shut up’ because the looks around us, they could have killed!” she said.

Host Hillary Barry told Andrews she’d likely just scored herself a new legion of fans.

Andrews said audiences could expect to learn more about her life, particularly her early years, at the show this evening.

The event takes the form of a talk and video montage in the first half, and a “question and answer” session in the second half.

“That’s the best part of the evening because I’m not sure what’s coming at me,” Andrews said.

Tickets to the show are still available.

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