Review: After Miss Julie at the MAC Theatre, Belfast

Miss Julie played by Lisa Dwyer-Hogg 

PATRICK Marber’s version of Strindberg’s play After Miss Julie, directed by Emma Jordan, is set on a country estate in Co Fermanagh.

The scene is set, a tidy kitchen in a big house, bells on the wall, willow pattern plates on the shelves. 

A young woman is cooking kidney and toast for the man she is almost engaged to and might one day marry. 

It’s late Saturday night, he has returned from his chauffeur duties and they listen to the party raging outside. 

Music spills into the kitchen, there are squeals and laughter in the gardens as revellers celebrate the end of World War 11.

As convincing housemaid Christine (Pauline Hutton) prepares to go off to bed their  servant’s territory is invaded by the daughter of the house, Miss Julie (Lisa Dwyer Hogg) who sweeps in looking for love, or lust, or dominance over the man she knows has always fancied her.

With Christine out of the way, she plays games with John (Ciaran McMeniman) she’s coquettish, leads him on and he responds. 

He plays out the fantasies he’s had since he was 12 and takes her virginity. 

What they don’t know is that Christine has gone to his room and stood watching the awful events of the night and is devastated by her betrayal.

A lot of heavy music enhances Hutton’s despair. Miss Julie is giddy, unhinged perhaps and agrees to run away with John.

But where will the money come from?

For me there isn’t enough light and shade in the acting, the graphic sex scenes lack tension.

However, the audience was attentive and gave a standing ovation.

:: After Miss Julie is at The MAC Theatre Belfast, until April 9 (7.45pm) and matinee April 2 (3pm)

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