Yael Farber, based on the play Miss Julie by August Strindberg
The word on the Edinburgh Street this year is that Mies Julie is the best show in a town filled with thousands of competitors. That word is right!
If August Strindberg is able to look down on us from Heaven (assuming that it exists and he is there), he must be proud of the plays that have been inspired by his masterpiece, Miss Julie.
Patrick Marber updated it to post war Britain with wonderful results, while this version, set on Freedom Day when the hateful terror of Apartheid was finally officially abolished, has an even stronger impact.
Yael Farber’s production brought over by the Baxter Theatre from Cape Town also outshines its tremendous South African companions, Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act and Woza Albert!, high praise.
Hilda Cronjé‘s Mies Julie is a Boer whose family have lauded it over their Black servants for three generations. Now, at last, the moment of reckoning has arrived.
Through the momentous night, she attempts to recognise the new order with family retainer John, played by Bongile Mantsai.
As a novel twist, rather than his girlfriend, Thokozile Ntshinga plays this Christine as the strapping lad’s mother and former nurse to Julie when she was a babe.
The passion is heated to say the least, as Julie tries to merge her interests (erotically and more widely) with those of John.
What makes this version so special is the way in which Strindberg’s plot is used as a perfect allegory for the changes that have occurred in South Africa over the last two decades.
With great performances from each of the three main actors and an evocative soundscape created by Daniel and Matthew Pencer plus singer Thandiwe Nofirst Lungisa, Mies Julie is not to be missed.
In fact, it is so good that (along with its fellow imports) Mies Julie could justify a special trip to Edinburgh for anyone with a little spare time over the next couple of weeks.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher