I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for productions that have running water on stage.
After Miss Julie opened yesterday in Dublin’s Project Arts Center. Visiting the Blue Building for two weeks only, before it sets out on its tour around Ireland, After Miss Julie is a current production by Prime Cut in association with The MAC, Belfast.
Being adapted from Strindberg’s Miss Julie by Patrick Marber, this quite heightened emotionally play tells us the story of one night in a life of an upper class young missy – Miss Julie (played by Lisa Dwyer Hogg). It’s VE-day and everybody is celebrating. On the night when even the princesses joined common people on the streets of London to cheer for the great victory , Miss Julie wanted to be no different. But could she ever have imagined how this night will turn out for her? The bloody war might be over but Julie’s own battle is only about to begin.
This fast 90 minute piece is a whole rollercoaster of emotions. A kiss. A slap. An “I love you”. An “I hate you”. Let’s run away together. Let’s die together… A laugh. A cry. A sigh. A bloody stain. People are cheering outside. Something huge is happening… Something is starting. Something is finishing. Something will never even get a chance to begin.
How far is too far? Is New York too far from this god-forsaken place in Northern Ireland? Is Julie going too far by provoking somebody to do what they don’t want to do?
John (played by Ciaran McMeniman) is just a man, a driver, a servant… worlds apart from Miss Julie; and yet he is the one who she is attracted to. Playing a game of her own or not, she gets what she wants but there is a price for everything. The church bell will be tolling, and soon, the question is for whom.
Even though all three actors give a very strong performance, special kudos go to Pauline Hutton who plays Christine, John’s somewhat aging, overworked fianceé with low expectations. Hutton’s performance is a very beautiful contrast to Dwyer Hogg’s overemotional Julie. Both actresses did an amazing job and created very different but hugely enjoyable to watch characters. As for McMeniman, I simply loved to hate John.
An amazing set designed by Sarah Bacon is an integral part of this production. Not only an atmosphere of an Upstairs/Downstairs house has been created but there is also a very strong representation of an outside world. I always have very strong respect for productions that not only manage to build a set but also give a sense of a real house.
Directed by Emma Jordan, After Miss Julie is an intense piece of theatre that will bring you on an unforgettable journey of what it’s like to give in to your animalistic desires and just grab the sweet forbidden fruit in its prime blossom.
After Miss Julie runs in The Project Arts Center until March, 19th. For more info or to book tickets, please, visit: http://projectartscentre.ie/event/miss-julie-2/