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After Miss Julie - Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Alison Smith on 26th Jul 2016 | View all blogs by Alison Smith

Reviewed by Alison Smith 18th July 2016

After Miss Julie - image Nobby Clark

The three characters in After Miss Julie represent, to some degree, the unmoveable class positions, not only in 1945, but also in 2016. There is Julie, the rich girl, who takes advantage of her position, John, the angry young man, who sees no future for himself in a class bound society and Christine accepting of a system which enables her to create a decent enough life for herself.  After Miss Julie is an ‘unfaithful’ reworking of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, written in 1888. Strindberg’s Miss Julie was set in the estate of a Swedish Count while Patrick Marber’s After Miss Julie (1995) is set in the country house of a left-wing peer in 1945, a time of social upheaval.

Julie, the daughter of the house, is attracted to John the butler- cum- chauffeur. Julie, newly free after breaking up with her army officer fiancé, is a vulnerable, needy, sensual woman. But she plays the rich girl card of power over the servants, while looking for happiness among them. Helen George, who plays Julie, is an insufferable, brittle character, at times desperate and menacing, at times restrained and arrogant. I was not totally convinced by Helen George’s Julie because, although beautiful and glamorous, she lacks intensity and passion. Her ex-soldier conquest John, (Richard Flood) is more believable, calculating, money grabbing and misogynous he no more cares for Julie than he does for Christine. Christine (Amy Cudden) is the voice of common sense. Her attitude highlights the dangerous game being played by Julie and John. Fully aware of John’s infidelity, she accepts the situation and makes the best of it as she will do in any future life with John. When John realises that his future is not with Julie because there is no money to fund their new life in New York, he quickly loses interest.   For me the relationship between Julie and John lacks substance and zing. It is because of this that I was not convinced of the cliff hanging ending. However, the play is engrossing and I did not lose interest in the blossoming relationship, in the change of roles of the protagonists and in the class struggle that they represent.

After Miss Julie is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 23rd July  

www.atgtickets.com 

0844 871 7652

Booking fee applies

 

 

 

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