June 22, 2013

Posted by Uma

Hopegrown Productions’ debut performance of Around Miss Julie by Harry Standjofski is a refreshing piece of theatre. Being a play about putting on a play, it’s about as self-reflexive as theatre gets. It’s a performance that humorously reveals the ups and (mostly) downs of what goes on behind the scenes when putting on a play.

Featuring a strong four-person cast of Hopegrown Productions co-founders Miriam Cummings, Lindsey Huebner, Samantha Megarry, as well as the talented Graham Berlin, each character is dynamic, quirky, and original. For anybody who has ever been in a play or a part of the play production process, Around Miss Julie is right up your alley.

Love triangles, long distant relationships, and life imitating art– these are some of the things Around Miss Julie embodies. The play follows three actors involved in the remaking of the original Miss Julie classic by August Strindberg, under the direction of their sweetly ambitious, yet utterly clueless director, Julie (Cummings). The plot impressively weaves in and out between the play, the play within the play, and the original. The cast, making it both amusing and pleasantly confusing to watch, successfully executed this unique tactic.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance, there were times where my lack of theatre experience got the best of me. As a result, I often found myself not laughing out loud with the majority of the crowd to aspects perhaps more amusing to those who could identify with the characters’ struggles. This aside, the play deals with issues of love, relationships, and the harsh realities of pursuing one’s dreams– subject matter relatable to both theatre and non-theatre enthusiasts. In addition, the comical props, consistently strong energy from each actor, and whimsical storyline made Around Miss Julie a delight to watch.

Hopegrown Productions, a theatre company with the objective of “staging interesting stories featuring dynamic female characters” has successfully done just that. They do a fantastic job of featuring three-dimensional female characters that are a spectacle, not just for their beauty, but foremost a result of their strong acting chops. Cummings truly steals the show in her role as Julie; her hilarious delivery and quirky mannerisms make it impossible not to fall in love with her. Around Miss Julie is a light and funny production due to its strong and talented young actors, making it a Fringe Fest must-see.

To read more about the Hopegrown Productions ladies, check out our article here! The remaining Around Miss Julie shows as part of the Montreal Fringe Fest are Friday, June 21st, 10:30PM, and Sunday, June 23rd, 7:00PM at Club Espagnol (4388 St. Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC). Check it out before they depart on their summer tour!

Hopegrown Productions — 2013 — Around Miss Julie