After Miss Julie

Malvern Theatres

***

SWEDISH playwright August originally wrote Miss Julie in 1888 about the social conflict he identified between the upper classes and their paid servants.  

Writer Patrick Marber (Film Closer, Television co-writer of Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge) wrote this play for BBC2 in 1995 not as a new translation of Strindberg's original but a new version, a version After Miss Julie, and a version which saw its stage debut in 2003.

Helen George (Call the Midwife, Strictly Come Dancing) plays MHelen Georgeiss Julie a rich lady in her 20s, the last of an old aristocratic breed about to die out. Richard Flood plays John a valet/chauffeur in his 30s with aspirations to rise from his station in life and manage his own club in a city. And Amy Cudden plays Christine, a cook in her mid 30s who is devoutly religious and apparently betrothed to John.

This naturalistic play takes place in the kitchen of a large country house outside of London in 1945, a set where you can smell the food being cooked.

Helen George as Miss Julie

It is set the night and morning after Clement Attlee's Labour Party won their famous landslide election victory. During one scene the dancing from an upstairs party was superbly sequenced using a video recording, projected above the kitchen area, scoring a seven from Len.

By pushing the play forward to 1945 and only two months after Nazi Germany had surrendered, Marber draws out the play’s underlying tensions of  class conflict and how radically people's attitudes had changed.

All three performances were flesh and blood realistic, the conflicts meaningful and the play was kept simple without any complicated subplots. To Saturday 11-06-16.

Johnathan Gray

07-06-16  

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