Skip to main content

Miss Julie

Perth Theatre
Four stars

The party is in full swing at the start of Shilpa T-Hyland’s new studio production of Strindberg’s cross-class psycho-sexual power play, dragged into 1920s rural Scotland in Zinnie Harris’s vivid version. Below stairs, alas, Helen Mackay’s maid Christine can only hear the good times going on elsewhere as she stomps her martyr-like way through her chores.

When Lorn Macdonald’s flinty fellow servant John bursts in, having effectively gatecrashed a boozy workers’ midsummer do which his young mistress Julie also wafts through, it is with the barricade-hooping zeal of a convert who just found a cause, even as his ambition gets the better of him. The General Strike is on, revolution is in the air and he has a bottle of stolen wine and two women to let down. It is Julie’s similarly tipsy arrival on the scene, however, that really ruffles everybody’s feathers.

Set on the clinically clean kitchen of Jen McGinley’s set and bathed in Grant Anderson’s crisp, biscuit-coloured lighting, T-Hyland’s production is a wilfully young affair, and there is an adolescent, all-elbows awkwardness to John and Julie’s love/hate flirtation before it lurches into a full-blown one-night stand.

The morning after resembles the fallout of a teenage party, with John initially as full of boastful cock-sure swagger as Christine is of wounded disappointment at having to play gooseberry, even as she keeps her dignity intact. Played by Hiftu Quasem with a haughty flourish, Julie’s grand gestures appear brattily immature, her attention-seeking also pointing up how much she’s been traumatised by a seemingly privileged upbringing which has left her emotionally damaged.

All of which gives a fascinating and refreshing angle on a play which ends in failure, both of the supposed brave new dawn the strike was supposed to bring with it, and of the personal consequences of similarly rash actions. With John’s brief glimpse at apparent freedom dashed by Julie’s drastic solution to things, the party is well and truly over for them all.

The Herald, February 20th 2019

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…