Miss Julie

Aug 13 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩  Enticing scandal

The Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30)
Mon 11 – Sat 15 August 2014

In a new adaptation of August Strindberg by Jen McGregor, Black Dingo Productions return to the late 19th Century with a story about class, longing and scandal.

Miss Julie Crop ImageBut McGregor ensures that it is a not-too distant tale as it explores themes of power, judgement and broken dreams – all of which are still hugely relevant in society today.

Miss Julie tells the tale of a Baron’s daughter, a childish, impudent girl who wants to rebel against the confinements of her class, yet at the same time cannot help but revelling in exerting control over others. Julie could be any girl in any time: she believes she wants a different life and flirts on the boundary between worlds.

In the kitchen of Miss Julie’s house she throws herself upon the world of her servants, John and Kristin. She leads John, her father’s valet, into in a reluctant encounter in which each is in condemnation of the other, while both longing for their opposite’s lifestyle. This leads to a dangerous battle of control and seduction, and director Amy Gilmartin successfully delivers an hour of gripping drama as the life-altering events unfold.

McGregor’s adaptation follows Strindberg’s original naturalist play admirably. She displays real problems, real feelings and real motivations which are grounded in both upbringing and environment. The setting is simple and uncomplicated and there is nothing to distract from the raw emotions of the piece.

contempt, condemnation and ridicule

Kirsty Eila McIntyre delivers a radiant performance as Miss Julie. She is ultimately confused, flitting between the strong-willed daughter her mother wanted her to be, the noble, proper lady her father intended, and the little girl longing to be loved. Her contempt, condemnation and ridicule is apparent and if looks could kill, her venomous eyes would do the job when Kristin, played by Debbie Cannon, stands in her way.

Yet it is difficult to hate the character as McIntyre portrays her inherent vulnerability and naivety. She inspires empathy as Julie’s situation spirals out of control and she is trapped within a world of judgement over the impropriety of her actions.

David McFarlane plays a stiff and proper John. His performance, too, is highly believable (with the exception of a couple of stunted lines) as he conveys John’s aspiration and desperation to rise from his station in life. He alternates between kindness and callousness and it’s easy to see him as the villain of the piece. This is further exacerbated by the presentation of Debbie Cannon’s Kristin as the overly prim and proper cook.

Miss Julie delivers engaging and absorbing drama that is both in-keeping with Strindberg’s original vision and wonderfully updated by McGregor to ensure it remains relevant to today’s audience.

Running time: 1 hour
The Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR (Venue 30)
Mon 11 – Fri 15 August 2014
Daily: 19.00
Full details: edfringe.com/whats-on/miss-julie
Company website: blackdingoproductions.wordpress.com


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