A Blistering New Adaptation Of Miss Julie
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August Strindberg’s Miss Julie is one of those classic one act plays much loved by small theatre groups. It might be nearly 130 years old but its subject matters of social and gender inequality are always timely and more importantly it’s easy to stage: three cast members, a few pots and pans and a performing space and you’re away. There’s nothing tired or overdone about this new adaptation, though. It’s as blistering as the midsummer evening it’s set during and as bold as Miss Julie herself, hitching up her skirts to flash her undies.
If you don’t know the play, it involves two servants (Jean and his fiancé Kristin) and their haughty master’s daughter, Miss Julie. The headstrong and coquettish Julie sneaks off from a party, corners Jean the valet alone in the kitchen, downs some booze and gets a bit of valet servicing whilst Kristin sleeps. Issues of power, class and gender are unavoidable as they flirt, taunt and tease each other mercilessly.
Howard Brenton has stripped the play back to basics by re-working a literal translation from the Swedish. Rather than transposing the play to the modern age or throwing in the odd iPad to make it look current, he’s done something genuinely exciting by means of a tightly woven script. Add in a skilled cast and this is a sultry and thought provoking winner.
Miss Julie, Jermyn Street Theatre, Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6ST. £30. Until 2 December 2017
Last Updated 20 November 2017