One of the most interesting aspects of National Theatre Live’s screening of London stage plays is the interview with the cast and production teams.
In the case of Julie, which has just finished its run at London’s Lyttleton Theatre, this is especially true.
Several critics weren’t that enamoured with writer Polly Stenham’s and director Carrie Cracknell’s take on Miss Julie, August Strindberg’s classic play about class and sex in nineteenth century Sweden.
Thus it’s interesting to hear the interview with Stenham and Cracknell in the lead-up to the National Theatre Live screening. From this interview we discover what the two were aiming to portray and their take on audience and critics’ feedback.
Stenham’s Julie (Vanessa Kirby) lives in contemporary London and is clearly not a happy person. She’s wild and newly single and is celebrating her 33rd birthday at her home in Hampstead Heath. She now lives there with her father and, while he’s not at the party, plenty of her friends are. Alcohol and drugs abound.
Below the partygoers in an open plan kitchen, the family’s Ghanaian chauffeur – Jean (Eric Kofi Abrefa) and his fiancée Kristina (Thalissa Teixeira), the Brazilian maid – tidy up. When Julie hauls Jean off to the dance a power game ensures which ultimately leads to tragedy.
While not all critics were taken with Stenham’s interpretation, all were united in their praise of Kirby’s performance. She expertly portrays a damaged and lost young woman who at times is vindictive and mean and at other times rather pathetic. Abrefa and Teixeira also give very strong and believable performances.
It’s said Miss Julie is always being performed somewhere in the world, in one form or another. As is the case with all National Theatre Live performances, the joy of this production is the chance to see an interpretation that otherwise would not be available to Australian audiences.
Julie is screening at selected cinemas around Australia from September 29. Visit the National Theatre Live website for screening details.
Jenny Burns attended an advanced screening of Julie as a guest of Sharmill Films.
*Photo credit: Richard H Smith
- movies, national theatre live, reviews
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