"stunning settings for the play"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 31/05/19

Here are two naturalistic plays both written in 1888 so it is interesting to see them on the same day. Creditors in the afternoon and Miss Julie in the evening. Howard Brenton has done new versions of the originals and they are to cut down to the essential dramatic situations. Miss Julie is very well known, set on a Midsummer Eve celebration and shows how a flirtation can turn into madness. Miss Julie is an upper-class young woman who has been trained by her mother both to hate men and to take over all their advantages So when she develops an interest in her father’s valet, Jean, she orders him to dance with her and he has to dump his loving fiance, Kristin, and obey her. Jean is intelligent, well travelled, well read and very polite. He wants to be upwardly mobile, he hates the ringing of the bell by his master, reminding him that he is a servant. He longs to run away and start a business and he believes Miss Julie will help him achieve his ambitions by providing finance. Charlotte Hamblin does a good job as Julie – starting as the dominant mistress and we see clearly how her sexiness can betray her. Equally fascinating is the ambitious Jean (James Sheldon) who is never less than elegant even when the drama between them escalates into violence. Dorothea Mayer-Bennett plays the betrayed Kristin. She spends the first five minutes without any dialogue as she cooks and later keeps all her composure throughout the drama that surrounds her. Ms Myer-Bennett also plays Tekla, the wife in Creditors. but here the emphasis is n the two men involved. James Sheldon as the over-loving Adolf who is missing his wife when she goes away on business and is easy prey to the Evil Gustaf (David Sturzaker) who sets about undermining his confidence; making him think his wife does not love him and that she has a string of young lovers.

Louie Whitemore designed a couple of stunning settings for the play, the practical kitchen black and white with an actual hob and sink. and the Creditors set, a living room in a seaside resort – cream, cool and relaxing which works to the advantage of Gustaf’s destructive “assistance”

Tom Littler is a first-rate director and his work with Brenton is superb.

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