Miss Julie (3 stars)

Miss Julie

credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Zinnie Harris adaptation has some tense moments

With August Strindberg's 19th century drama transported to the 1920s, and brimful of class tension, Zinnie Harris takes a scalpel to the patriarchal society of the original play's power structures.

As the echelons of society congregate in a grand house for a party, the people downstairs, cook Christine (Helen Mackay) and her fiancé the serving man John (Lorn MacDonald) speak instead of The Great Strike and their aspirations to move out and begin a new life together.

Their scenes together are superb, smouldering with sexual tension, as the swaggering John makes demands of his God fearing but independently minded lady, and flagrantly steals good bottles of Burgundy from the Lord of the house's cellar. MacDonald infuses John with an ostensibly playful manner, but always with a dark undercurrent of entitlement.

Less assured is the fledgling love triangle. Hiftu Quasem as the bored, teasing daughter of the house, the titular Julie, is rather one note in her performance as she vies for one upmanship with John, and the play loses the momentum of the first hour.

It's the viscera of Harris's words that most impresses, though: all of the talk of entrails, flogging and the idle rich bragging of fresh kills is left hanging in the air like rotten carcasses. Her dialogue is chewy, with no gristle.

Tron Theatre, Glasgow. The Studio, Edinburgh, Wed 6 Mar–Sat 9 Mar.

Miss Julie

Adaptation of Strindberg's play, re-imagined in Scotland during the General Strike of the 1920s. Miss Julie, the laird's daughter, and John, the laird's manservant, are drawn together with disastrous results on midsummer night.

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