|"In its early stages still"|
by Stacey Permaul for remotegoat on 11/11/12
Undertaking the huge task of staging a production of Strindberg's Miss Julie is always a risk. A play as intense, complex and explosive as this requires immense skill and intelligence in its delivery from both the actors and the director to really get to the core of the drama.
Odd Man Out Productions present their Miss Julie in the hidden gem of South London at the Bussey Building, a venue I believe has the potential to become a buzzing, creative hub. Upon entering the building I was invited to climb the stairs and "follow the music". Soft, dischordant tones were my introduction to the setting of the play, with violinist Jose Gandia playing mournfully in the corner of the auditorium.
The lights dim, Henriikka Kemppi's Christine finishes her cooking and the play begins...
There is obvious passion from director Vernon Douglas who has picked the play apart and pieced it back together, endeavouring to find its relevance to today's society. He achieves a pertinent and enthusiastic staging of the play which would provide the company a great platform to continue developing, however as a finished piece it does fall slightly off the mark.
There are some moments of clarity from Lydia Orange's Miss Julie, who, although perhaps slightly too young for the role, add gravitas through her despairing for a way out of her situation.
The largest problem of this piece, I feel, is that there seems to be a lack of chemistry between Miss Julie and Nicholas Clarke's Jean. The audience are required to suspend disbelief to genuinely feel a lustful moment between the protagonists have ever passed.
The entire plot is based on a singular moment of letting desire sweep over you without thought of the consequence. The tragedy is the aftermath. Without the audience believing in the desire, it is very difficult to allow them to care enough in the tragedy.
Having said this, Odd Man Out Productions have made a good start on creating a thoughtful and unique production of Miss Julie, with a superb convention of having a violin play during tense and dramatic moments. I would be very excited to see how the company take this production further, perhaps with greater emphasis on the subtext and hidden meanings during further rehearsals.
If you want to see a brave production in its early stages in a venue that is on the brink of something rather wonderful, this is it.
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