Talented cast bring After Miss Julie to Welwyn Garden City stage

PUBLISHED: 21:35 20 November 2014 | UPDATED: 21:38 20 November 2014

Josie Matthews as Miss Julie and Harry Harding as John in the Barn Theatre's production of After Miss Julie

Josie Matthews as Miss Julie and Harry Harding as John in the Barn Theatre's production of After Miss Julie

John Davies

After Miss Julie opens at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City this week.

"The script itself is beautiful and the story very deep."

Darren Barsby

The power of wealth – or the power of sex?

That’s the teasing tagline for the Barn Theatre’s latest production, After Miss Julie, which opens at the Welwyn Garden City theatre on Friday, November 21.

The Barn’s new season got off to a cracking start with two near sell-out shows, an Ayckbourn classic and a new play by young writer Jessica Swale.

Next up in what is promising to be an exceptional season is After Miss Julie, a stunning version of Strindberg’s three-hander, Miss Julie.

Kim Southey as Christine and Harry Harding as John in After Miss Julie, which plays at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City [Picture: John Davies]Kim Southey as Christine and Harry Harding as John in After Miss Julie, which plays at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City [Picture: John Davies]

Written as a television play by Patrick Marber, After Miss Julie was first performed on BBC Two, and then had a searing outing as a stage play at the Donmar in 2003, when it was hailed as “a high voltage play of ruinous cross-class passion and radical ingenuity”.

Marber’s fiercely intelligent reworking moves the action from 19th century midsummer Sweden to a country house in England after World War Two.

It’s July 26, 1945, the euphoric night of the Labour landslide, and Miss Julie, the daughter of the house, is drunk after the celebration party.

When she descends to the kitchen to flirt with her father’s chauffeur she plays a dangerous game and sets in motion a train of events that leads to tragedy.

After Miss Julie plays at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden CityAfter Miss Julie plays at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City

This is class war played out in the bedroom.

Darren Barsby, seen earlier this year playing CSM Rivers in The Accrington Pals, and behind the scenes directing last year’s sell-out Christmas show, Peter Pan, has brought together three of the Barn’s rising stars for this stunning play.

He said: “The script itself is beautiful and the story very deep.

“It needed careful thought when deciding on the cast and developing their characters and I have been very keen to make the production as naturalistic as possible, while still showing the deeper sides of the protagonists to the audience in a way that is obvious.

Harry Harding as John, Josie Matthews as Miss Julie and Kim Southey as Christine [Picture: John Davies]Harry Harding as John, Josie Matthews as Miss Julie and Kim Southey as Christine [Picture: John Davies]

“The play twists around power struggles and I wanted to ensure that the audience could see the flow of power back and forth between the three roles.”

Harry Harding plays John, the chauffeur who’s ready to grab every opportunity to succeed in a world where the old order is crumbling.

Kim Southey is Christine, his fiancée, the hardworking and worthy cook who is sure about her place in society, and Josie Matthews plays Miss Julie, the self-destructive daughter of the house.

Although John and Julie both want something from each other, they don’t actually want each other.

Strindberg’s female characters are almost universally hard to like and his male ones are not much better.

Barsby added: “This is the smallest cast I have directed and it is such a joy to have the opportunity to spend hours and hours honing the development – hopefully stretching the capabilities of the talented trio on stage but also giving the audiences something to really think about.

“I didn’t want to portray any of the characters in any kind of stereotype as I want the audience to determine for themselves what they feel about Julie, John and Christine and to decide for themselves what happens after the curtain falls.”

The show runs from Friday, November 21 to Saturday, November 29, with evening performances at 8pm and a matinee at 2.30pm on the second Saturday.

Tickets cost £11 from the Barn Theatre box office on 01707 324300 or online at www.barntheatre.co.uk
* See this week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times, out now, for profiles on the cast members.


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