Mies Julie @ Assembly Hall
Moving location to South African farm land, Mies Julie departs heavily from the Strindberg original Miss Julie. Notably, Christine becomes a mother character and there is a fourth presence on stage, not just hovering unseen in the back ground. It removes much of the ambiguity from the original text, giving it a definite stance on the class and gender issues.
The performers behind Jean and Miss Julie both encapsulate a sensual physicality with their bodies that capitalises on the lust of the play as it begins. However, as tensions rise it quickly ceases to be about seduction and becomes an interesting and intense power play between the white land owner’s daughter and the black worker.
It is a classic text which translates very well into the South African class, race and gender struggle. However, the need which arises from this to clearly politicise the plot detracts from the metaphorical resonance of Strindberg’s original. While the entire performance is captivating, particularly the use of music, its explicitness stops it from reaching the difficult yet achievable heights of the simultaneously cerebral and emotive.
That said, it is a fantastically acted and intriguing adaptation of a theatre go-to text, even if the ending pushes it just a little too far over the edge.