Stunned by tale of lust

Flirtation turns to passion for Jean (Adam Redmayne) and Miss Julie (Felicity Rhys)
Flirtation turns to passion for Jean (Adam Redmayne) and Miss Julie (Felicity Rhys)

A NEW translation of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie stopped off at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, as part of a world premiere tour.

Billed as a fast-paced tale of lust, it certainly seemed to stun last night’s audience into silence.

Having had the benefit of seeing a more lavish production in London some years ago, I found this version almost pared to the bone.

The clever set featured three key pieces - the stove area, the dresser and the table.

This limited but effective set kept our concentration on the words, something that is key to understanding the piece.

However, fast-paced it was not, with the audience at one point left to watch Laura-Kate Gordon as Kristin washing up for a good few minutes.

All the ‘action’ was taking place off stage, where Jean (Adam Redmayne) and Miss Julie (Felicity Rhys) were dancing at a party for the servants that we could only overhear.

The pace picked up as their flirtations turned to passion on the kitchen table. From there, we witnessed the power struggle between the pair, with Redmayne and Rhys giving their all to the script.

Director Denis Noonan says: “Miss Julie is a very powerful piece. My production strives to be true to Strindberg’s original intentions, to be direct and have immediacy.

“I want the audience to be involved and affected by what they see on stage, much like Strindberg’s audience was back in 1889.”

And affected we certainly were. The only downside was the off-stage music and sounds were often much louder than the actors’ voices, making it sometimes difficult to keep up with what was being said.

It was a piece that was quite different, drawing you in to the battle of the sexes and class-conflict, and left us a little shell-shocked, especially as there was no interval in which to take stock.