Skip to main content

Miss Julie

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars
Everyone knows that it's in the kitchen where parties really start 
cooking up a storm. So it goes in Miss Julie, August Strindberg's 
revolutionary nineteenth century play about the cross-class lust 
between the eponymous daughter of the manor and her father's servant, 
John, who Julie grew up beside. Zinnie Harris' version may relocate the 
action to the post First World War Scottish Highlands in the midst of a 
strike among the village workers, but the simmering essence of 
Strindberg's original is retained in a brief but fiercely intense 
exchange in Dominic Hill's blistering production.

The schism between the two worlds is delineated from the off via the 
stark grey interior of Neil Haynes' design that's highlighted even more 
by the sickly yellow lighting that contains them. This contrasts 
sharply with the party noises off and occasional flashing lights 
beyond. It is not Julie we see first, however, but the maid, Christine. 
Played with steely resignation by Jessica Hardwick, Christine is here 
given more emotional weight by Harris, who makes her a near equal 
partner in a three-sided battle.

Once Louise Brealey's Julie wafts into the kitchen in search of some 
sense of self-determination beyond privilege, however, Keith Fleming's 
John takes full advantage of Julie's needy mix of  brattishness and 
brittleness. As the pair spar their way in and out of bed,sometimes 
with a surprising amount of humour, their fluctuating power games  
becomes a verbal extension of their unseen physical tryst.

Both Brealey and Fleming give their all with a pair of performances 
possessed with nuanced light and shade in what is ultimately a play 
about sex and power, the power of sex and the sexiness of power. In 
this case, the class of both parties may be crucial to giving their 
liaison a frisson of forbidden fruit, but, behind closed doors, sex is, 
or can be, a great leveller too. Judging by the gasps that came from 
the front stalls on Saturday night, the final, fateful role-play 
between the pair makes Miss  Julie as shocking as it ever was.

The Herald, February 10th 2014

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…