Last night, I went to take in Fab Production’s take on August Strindberg’s Miss Julie. The play was written in 1888 and is a classic naturalistic play focusing on lust/love and class differences. Co-directed by Errol Sitahal and Aryanna Mohamad, this localized adaption of the original script was done with simple and effective changes. This is not your feel good play, the script filled with lust, manipulation, social casting and feelings of inadequacy. (So basically for me it’s exactly the type of theatre I love)
Let’s talk more about the script, I’ll just give a general idea so I don’t give away too much:
Miss Julie played by Rebecca Foster has just suffered a broken engagement, she’s the daughter of a wealthy man. She decides to flirt with Jean (Vedesh Nath) her father’s driver. Now because of societal norms, these interactions are frowned upon. Jean, by the way, is engaged to Christine, the cook for Miss Julie’s home (played by Tishanna Williams).
Now the drama: When Christine goes to bed, Miss Julie uses her wiles and status, as a lady of the household Jean serves, to lure Jean into a dangerous seduction. Miss Julie erroneously believes she has the upper hand. Jean then flips the script and his manipulative nature takes the fore.
Now in my opinion, the character of Miss Julie is that of a Bi-Polar, almost sadistic and confused soul and Jean is a manipulative, overly-ambitious snake with an inferiority complex. Jean convinces Miss Julie to run away with him and steal money from her father so they can open a hotel together. When their plan is discovered by Christine, she tells them she will inform the guard of the plan and instruct him not to allow them to leave until Miss Julie’s father arrives. With this turn of events and a call from Miss Julie’s father comes the end of their plans.
OK so the script is interesting and would probably have you salivating to find out what else happened and how it all unfolded. Now the good stuff – the actual review.
DIRECTOR’S LOCALIZED ADAPTION – Generally well done; it did not require much and so what was done was enough to keep the play relevant.
SET DESIGN – Very apt. This is a one setting play and so the detail given to the set was appreciated. Simple and well done.
LIGHTING – Now, I’m going to be forgiving because a lighting designer has to work with the equipment s/he is given but the lighting didn’t aid in telling the story and was simply off cue at a number of points during the show. Lighting for this night failed but I hope to see improvements in the nights to follow.
ACTING – There was no chemistry between the two main characters. The moments of seduction, was not moving or believable. I partly contribute blame to the directors for not pushing that aspect of the acting more. The audience wants to feel the seduction and the hate and the manipulation and the longing for Jean to improve his life station, there was so much emotions that was not portrayed.
Rebecca Foster (Miss Julie) – acting style seemed natural, which is in keeping with the style with which the play was written and the performance was ok, I think. Jean overpowered her and because their chemistry was non-existent and even overly combative I don’t believe that I could give a fair assessment of her acting. There were times when I felt she was not in sync with her character. Her attempts at seduction failed (though not miserably) and her portrayal of the emotions were not always convincing.
Vedesh Nath (Jean) – Delivery of his lines were all at the same level, to the point where all emotions behind the, wonderfully written, script became muddled and could have confused the audience. His overall delivery was the worse of the show and overpowered that of his co-lead, Miss Julie. It can however be refined and the onus is now on the directors to get him to tone down and ease into the natural acting needed.
Tishanna Williams (Christine) – now as this was probably the only sane character in the play, I would assume the difficulty level of portrayal was much less than for the lead characters. That said, Tishanna did a wonderful job at getting the naturalistic essence which I imagine the playwright intended. The best acting in the show.
Fab Productions is a theatre house and from what could be seen at the Miss Julie production I expect that they would continue to select excellent works such as this and improve on the shortcomings. This was after all the first night of the show and usually the show only gets better.
Would I recommend you see the play? YES!
If only for the intrigue and drama of the script itself. I give this a 3 / 5 mainly because of poor delivery of the lines.
Have you seen the show? If so give us your opinion. If not, go take it in and let us know how you feel about our review.
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Thursday 18th Dec. – 8.00pm
Friday 19th Dec. – 8.00pm
Saturday 20th Dec. – 3.00pm
Saturday 20th Dec. – 8.00pm
Sunday 21st Dec. – 3.00pm
Sunday 21st December – 6.30pm