July 25, 2013

Around Miss Julie

Review by Katie Penrose

This is an interestingly–written play with a vibrant main character Julie, who is funny in an unusual way and almost glows with her strange qualities. Bubbly, full of hope, fresh–faced Julie has come into some money recently and by unorthodox means intends to produce and direct a play with the cash for personal reasons.

Her three cast members seem almost displaced from her somehow, as if they are part of the real world and Julie is not. The three actors she hires are locked into a life–mimicking–art love triangle; the real–life stories of the people dance in and out of the play within the play, so sometimes the audience is meant to be uncertain which reality the scene is taking place in (whether the actors are acting or whether they are themselves) though it is usually made clear.

Everything is even more tied into itself for the fact that Julie chose to produce a play that reminded her so exactly of her own life. She says when she read it as a younger woman the similarities startled her, as if it was written about her a hundred years before she lived. So the three actors’ lives are mimicking a play that mimics Julie’s life.

Strong performances from all four cast members make this show really excellent. It is well worth a visit. Miriam Cummings with beaming presence plays Julie, Mitchell Cohen is strong as actor Lyle, and our two actresses are played by the fiery Lindsey Huebner and the elegant Samantha Megarry.

There is a dark reality hidden in corners of this play, and an intelligence fronted by easygoing humour. Director Norah Paton really gets to the marrow, bringing out the best. There is plenty of skill here – heading to Edinburgh Fringe next!

Hopegrown Productions — 2013 — Around Miss Julie