NYT Announces 2013 Season
Paul Roseby announces plans for the future of the National Youth Theatre
North London’s newest theatre opens doors.
The Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, North London, opens to the public for the first time.
Surviving Actors returns to Manchester for new event
The convention will take place on Saturday 18th May and will feature loads of industry professionals.
Fourthwall launches NEW internet radio podcast
A new performing arts podcast show, The Download, features interviews with playwright Philip Ridley and West End leading man Simon Thomas.
Blog: Postcard from the One Man, Two Guvnors tour
We catch up with former First Word writer Rosie Wyatt, somewhere between New Zealand and Australia.
Blog: Interactive theatre/cinema
Peter Hinton, a regular performer with Future/Secret Cinema shares his experience of a truly audience interactive experience.
Blog: Taking on an iconic role
Nadim Naaman writes about taking on the iconic role of Anatoly in the first UK Revival of Chess
Into Training: Starting Out
Ed Theakston continues his journey through his first year of training.
Review: Liza on an E, Vaudeville Theatre ✭✭✭✭
Jeffrey Jones is enthralled by Trevor Ashley’s two-hour homage to Liza Minnelli.
Review: The Play That Goes Wrong, Trafalgar Studios 2 ✭✭✭
There’s much to enjoy in this West End Transfer, yet Phil Matthews wonders whether this play matches the talented cast and direction.
Review: Merrily We Roll Along, Harold Pinter ✭✭✭✭✭
Emily Hardy follows the Menier’s transfer of Merrily We Roll Along to the Pinter, and finds its impact has increased, along with its capacity.
Review: Bare, Union ✭✭✭
Overhyped, overwrought, and finally over here, Bare is best enjoyed solely for the fantastic cast, writes Emily Hardy.
Review: Mademoiselle Julie, The Barbican Theatre ✭✭✭✭
Juliette Binoche stars in this modern-day production of Strindberg’s 19th-century classic. David Havelick is enthralled.
This updated version of August Stringberg’s 1888 naturalistic play is performed in French (with English surtitles) rather than in the original Swedish. Director Frédéric Fisbach allows the audience to play voyeur as a night unfolds in the lives of three unstable and powerful characters. Juliette Binoche, starring in the title role, is both a delight and a terror – it is precisely what the role calls for. Strindberg’s timeless tragedy is a battle of the sexes, of the classes, of values, of expectations, of power, of desires, of conflicting truths.
It opens with a Midsummer night party where Mademoiselle Julie, the daughter of a wealthy count, is dancing with her servants. The audience is looking through a glass wall and the sounds are muffled; it is as if we are spying on strangers. With modern music (Blondie at one point) and a stark minimalist set, the stage is set for a contemporary drama.
Early on, it is clear that Mademoiselle Julie is drawn to her father’s valet, an attraction that is both against the rules and against norms. As the night of love and hate ensues, the two move seamlessly between dream and reality, honesty and lies, embraces and violence.
Strindberg’s timeless tragedy is a battle of the sexes, of the classes, of values, of expectations, of power, of desires, of conflicting truths.
Binoche’s Mademoiselle Julie unravels during the two hours in a fog of love, liquor, and exhaustion. Her strength physically wavers as the drama unfolds, but that does not stop Binoche delivering exhilarating moments of intensity and power – all confirming that Mademoiselle Julie is a character of many dimensions. Just when you begin to love her, she reveals flaws and vulnerabilities that are almost unforgivable. Like a roller coaster, Binoche expertly takes us on a journey of highs and lows, laughs and discomfort.
The count’s valet, Jean (Nicolas Bouchaud) quickly becomes Julie’s partner and adversary. As the director has pointed out, Strindberg says that at a certain point in the play, we end up taking part in a ‘fight between two brains.’ But the chemistry between Binoche and Bouchaud transcends their minds and their words. It is their body language that truly paints the most vivid picture of their conflict and passion. There are moments when Bouchaud is awkward and uncomfortable in his own skin, a strike of genius as Strindberg’s reluctant hero.
Kristin, Juliette’s chef and Jean’s lover, is perhaps the most tragic character. Played with tenderness and honesty by Bènèdicte Cerutti, Kristin is not just a third wheel in this story of three. Cerutti’s performance wrenched my heart and left me with a feeling of both admiration and pity for her – not an easy task.
In an interview with the Guardian, Binoche said of the three characters: “They say something at the beginning, and at the end it’s the total opposite. Emotions are very much like this; they’re not facts.” The challenge of getting under the skin of one of Strindberg’s characters is exactly what drew her to this part in the first place. It seems as though all three actors were up for that challenge.
Non-French speakers should not be put off. The emotion and depth with which the three actors tell this story ensures that you will be brought along for the ride even if you miss a line of the surtitles here and there.
At curtain call, the ovation went on and on – the audience didn’t want to stop clapping. And when the lights came on in the theatre, I looked down my aisle to see why no one was moving. Mouths were open – I think we were all stunned at the journey that had unfolded before us.
Runs until 29th September 2012