Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
When aristocrats pretend they are common, they are common
The Theatre Guild has embarked upon a venturous program of combining two plays, about sex and class, by two playwrights, set in two different time periods in two different localities using the same three actors.
Nick Fagan as Jean and Cheryl Douglas as Miss Julie
The three actors, Rosie Williams, Cheryl Douglas and Nick Fagan, together perform two versions of the same story, presenting two interpretations of each character. What makes it even more fascinating is watching the two female actors swap roles between "Miss Julie" and "Christine".
August Stringberg's "Miss Julie" is set in the downstairs kitchen on a Midsummer evening in the home of a Swedish noble in 1888. The play is about class differences, being aware of your place, and the folly of stepping outside your class. It clearly reflects the class differences in vogue at the time. We can hear the traditional servant's ball taking place off-stage as Jean, the valet, tells Christine of Miss Julie's flirting with the staff, her inferiors. Christine and Jean are in a relationship, but it soon becomes obvious that Miss Julie is going to upset things between them.
After the break, Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie is set in a kitchen in a country estate, only it is in England following the 1945 election. We hear Big Band music playing in the background. John the chauffeur has returned home after the war. He talks about new openings for himself as he tells Christine, "The world is changing, and there are opportunities for changes." However, he is still very much aware of his station in life. John is clearly born to obey as we see when the Master rings the bell, or when he has to clean his Master's shoes. The difference created through the class system, is also evident when John talks about serving his country, "you get decorated for bravery from going to the right school."
Jean (Nick Fagan) polishing his Master's shoes
Again, off-stage, Miss Julie flirts with the staff at a party upstairs. John expresses his disapproval of her behaviour, while eating a meal in the downstairs kitchen prepared by his yet-to-be- fiance, Christine. It is apparent they are in a relationship, but this doesn't deter Miss Julie who enters the kitchen seeking sexual excitement. When John remarks that she should remember her position and not play with fire, she replies, "Glad I'm insured," and proceeds to seduce John in the kitchen.
Rosie Wiliams as Miss Julie and Nick Fagan as Jean
Performances from the three actors are outstanding as they develop complex and convincing characters. Cheryl Douglas and Rosie Williams are well cast and dynamic as they present the two totally different women. Both are natural and sexy as the vixen, Miss Julie, and compelling and genuine in the role of Christine. Nick Fagan does well as he presents the two men, Jean and John, who have similar lines. and was convincing with his surly and wild outbursts regarding the gentry, "Why should I respect them, if they are no better than us? Why should we improve ourselves?" Or when referring to the master, "Those who own the land know less, than those who work it."
Cheryl Douglas as Christine & Nick Fagan as Jean.
The direction from Geoff Brittain is stimulating and the engaging performances will hold your attention.The sharp black humour, particularly in the scenes involving Julia's bird and again later, her sexual attack upon John are bound to hold audiences' attention and be memorable experiences.
Rosie Williams as Miss Julie
Sat 4, 11 & 18 Oct 2014, 6.00 pm
Miss Julie & After Miss Julie: Double bill Saturdays only Please note earlier start time of 6pm on Saturdays.
Miss Julie: One Play Only Tues - Fri 7 -10 Oct 2014, 7.30pm,
After Miss Julie: One Play Only
Tues - Fri 14 - 18 Oct 2014, 7.30 pm
Tickets: double bill $28 full / $23 concession
Tickets 1 play only $18 full / $13 concession