Miss Julie review at Reading Repertory Theatre
At last Reading has its own professional repertory theatre company to offer discerning theatregoers an intimate experience of small-scale drama in the studio environment of Reading College’s performing arts studio.
Building on its enterprising launch with The Dumb Waiter, Strindberg’s Miss Julie may seem an obvious choice for a fringe-style production in a black box auditorium, but it fits the bill perfectly by integrating the factors which Reading Rep claims to be at the heart of its mission – community, education and a high production standard.
Set designer Victoria Spearing uses a minimal white set to contrast starkly with the black studio setting and Miss Julie’s tantalisingly provocative red dress. These distinctions resonate through the play itself, reflecting the sharp comparisons between the social standing of the characters and the opposing psychologies of the opposite sexes – the red blood of the greenfinch and the burgundy wine giving additional emphasis to the great class and gender divide between aristocrat and servant.
Contemporary music and seductive choreography (credited to Hannah Moore) set the scene for the piece which is excellently performed by the cast of three. Valene Kane draws on her strengths as the play progresses to give a flirtatious, volatile portrayal of Miss Julie, with Kate Gilbert as the grounded Christine and Jamie Champion full of passionate intensity as Jean.
Directed by Paul Stacey with a keen interpretation of the space and his audience’s sightlines, Reading Rep can be proud of a strong production upon which it can build a loyal following.
Reading Repertory Theatre, April 1-13
- August Strindberg
- Paul Stacey
- Reading Repertory Theatre
- Valene Kane, Jamie Champion, Kate Gilbert
- Running time
- 1hr 20mins