Around Miss Julie

It's rare that, at the close of a play, I'm still anxious to follow its characters around, still curious about their lives and where they lead but after the uproarious, somewhat abrupt close of Around Miss Julie, which follows the lives and loves of three Canadian actors as they rehearse an ill-fated contemporary adaptation (‘Miss Julie in a Snowstorm’) of Strindberg's famous story of class, sex, and brutality, I was left with the overwhelming desire to watch another episode - or several - in these characters' lives. The ‘loudmouth’ Donna, the laid-back, somewhat awkward Lyle, the jittery Ilona (playing Caroline, John, and Julie respectively) - all felt developed, indeed real enough to make the circumstances of this particular play incidental: these were fully realised characters with rich inner lives, of which this particular rehearsal of ‘Miss Julie’ felt only like a part.

Briskly directed, brilliantly acted (with a special mention to Lindsey Huebner’s Donna: a consistently riveting powerhouse performance that left me wondering whether her Caroline should be considered the real protagonist of Strindberg's play), Around Miss Julie explores the boundaries between art and life, acting and reality, with subtlety and skill - the involvement of the show's narcissistic, utterly obtuse director (also named Julie, and played with bravura intensity by Miriam Cummings) subverting what could have been an all too simplistic parallel between actor and character.

Around Miss Julie isn't entirely perfect. Its spends more time carefully setting up characters and situations than it does resolving them, and the absurd ending - the final production of Miss Julie - feels (despite the hilarity) a bit rushed. I couldn't help but long for more time with these characters - a full-length production, or even a television show, instead of a paltry forty-five minutes. But the number one rule in show business is, after all, to leave your audience wanting more. I know I did.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
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Performances

The Blurb

Auditions, rehearsals, opening night... A director and three actors struggle to put on Julie In A Snowstorm - a new adaptation of Strindberg's classic. Throughout the process, the cast tangle with the play, each other... and a dead bird. www.hopegrown.ca

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