Sienna Miller
Credit: Joan Marcus

After Miss Julie

Based on a play by 19th-century Swedish playwright August Strindberg, Patrick Marber’s After Miss Julie instills the upstairs-downstairs tension of a film like Atonement with the raw sexual pulse Marber later perfected in his late-’90s drama Closer. Re-set in a fabulous, artfully lit representation of a 1945 British estate’s kitchen, the three-person play tackles class prejudices intertwined with a classic battle of the sexes. Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) is solid as John, the simple chauffeur who forsakes his patient betrothed (a sly Marin Ireland) for a taste of forbidden fruit. After his fiancée retires one night, he engages in an illicit fling with the master’s daughter, the haughty but crumbling Miss Julie (Sienna Miller). Though the two characters have a well of self-loathing in common, the actors’ chemistry is surprisingly stagnant. When the audience is finally willing to accept that John is merely the instrument for Julie’s self-destruction, the play inconveniently asserts the lovers’ long-suppressed pining for each other, which only underlines the performers’ shortcomings. The two lovers trade verbal blows, while deciding whether to run away to New York City. ”The Americans are charmed by us,” says poor, bland John. ”They die for the accent.” I wish it were so. C

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After Miss Julie
  • Stage