Play review by Julia Pattison: Miss Julie at York Theatre Royal
Play: Miss Julie
Venue: York Theatre Royal
Dates: Until Saturday, June 26
Review by: Julia Pattison
I must confess that I am not familiar with the work of playwright August Strindberg (1849-1912), considered to be one of the fathers of modern Swedish literature.
However, I last saw an excellent adaptation by York writer and actor Gemma Sharp, of Stindberg’s Miss Julie at 41 Monkgate York, back in 2013, with her version of the play set in the Twenties, and was intrigued to see British-Hong Kong playwright Amy Ng’s new setting of the Chinese New Year in the 1940s’ Hong Kong.
Dadiow Lin’s production kept you gripped from the beginning as we watched dutiful and caring house cook Christine (wonderfully portrayed by Jennifer Leong) go about her chores, then tend to her strutting fiancé John (Leo Wan).
When spoilt, privileged daughter Julie (Sophie Robinson), daughter of the island’s British governor, crashes the servant’s party downstairs she shatters any dreams that Christine may have had of marrying this once “kind and gentle man”.
Sophie was magnificent in her role as the haughty Madam, who enjoyed playing cat and mouse with John’s emotions.
Leo in turn, was superb in his portrayal of this servant who saw riches, and a whole new, better life dangled tantalisingly before him.
As we witnessed a power struggle between the two characters, the sexual charge between them came over loud and clear.
The tension built up almost unbearably between all the characters, and you were left emotionally drained at the end, but immensely satisfied after such a polished performance.