Based on August Strindberg’s 1888 classic Miss Julie, playwright Polly Stenham and director Carrie Cracknell have updated and enriched the piece, brining it to decadent London. It pulls in polar directions and is very current. It delights and distresses and aggravates all at the same time. Fast-paced and well done – electric theatre!
Incredibly brilliant, conflicting, irritating, provoking piece of work.
If you enjoyed director Cracknell’s NT Live Deep Blue Sea, this is for you.
Julie is 30 (again) and the hard partying continues upstairs as Brazilian maid Kristina and her fiancé Jean, the family chauffeur, clean up the basement kitchen – a gloriously sleek set by Tom Scutt, with an endless row of white, soft-close cupboards and tastefully exposed concrete. When Kristina leaves, Julie and Jean think their escape is in the other person and they sleep together.
The three main cast members are impressive. Julie is “technicolour” – a brilliant butterfly fluttering around the stage in a shimmering skirt and sequinned jacket. By contrast her staff – the only other speaking roles – wear black and white, the age-old uniform of servants. Kristina is so cheery at the beginning, scraping her flip flops as she walks knackered across the kitchen she’s tidying, that it’s sad to think what’s in store for her. There’s a slight unevenness to Jean, from the sensible, suited chauffeur trying to climb the class rungs to a slightly whiny fantasist talking about eloping to Cape Verde with Julie. It seems like those two modes don’t stack up. But then humans don’t really stack up.
130 years after she was created, Strindberg’s heroine still feels painfully relevant, and Kirby’s mesmerising performance will stay with you long after this short play hurtles to its tragic end.
UK 2018, 90 min, rated M (offensive language, sexual references & drug use)
Live performance stage drama
Directed by Carrie Cracknell
Starring Vanessa Kirby, Eric Kofi Abrefa & Thalissa Teixeira
National Theatre Live is an initiative operated by the Royal National Theatre in London, which broadcasts live via satellite, performances of their productions to movie theatres, cinemas and arts centres on the world. We are very lucky at Arthur’s to be able to offer this sensational bit of culture, art and entertainment to you.