Friday, September 07, 2018

'Julie' by Polly Stenham

7 September 2018

On Thursday we were at the Odeon in Milton Keynes to watch the NT Live broadcast of ‘Julie’ - Polly Stenham’s contemporary updating of ‘Miss Julie’ by August Strindberg, live from the National Theatre in London. I haven’t seen the original play so I’m not sure how closely this version follows Strindberg but Polly Stenham had definitely created a believable modern setting for this tale of class, power and sex. All three actors – Vanessa Kirby, Eric Kofi Abrefa and Thalissa Teixeira – were magnificent, and the NT Live camera close-ups made for an often uncomfortably intimate examination of their emotional journeys. Vanessa Kirby – best known for playing Princess Margaret in ‘The Crown’ – made Julie more than the simple, spoiled rich woman who has never grown up that she first appears. And Stenham’s script found much humour and wit amongst the bleakness of the characters’ lives. I enjoyed the way each of the characters constantly undercut our expectations of them, demonstrating a greater awareness and understanding than we had assumed. ‘Julie’ is a fairly bleak drama but it’s a powerful and intriguing production with some very impressive acting.

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