Review: Mies Julie

Baxter Theatre Centre
Assembly Rooms,  Aug 9-27

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Set in a farmhouse in post-apartheid South Africa, director Yael Farber draws upon the dramatic conventions of ancient Greek tragedy to deliver a sustained, weighted performance of Mies Julie that serves as both an intimate night between Julie (Hilda Cronje) and John (Bongile Mantasi), and a microcosm of race relations in contemporary South Africa.

Throughout the ninety minutes, there is no question that the stakes are high for both Julie and John, and their bodies, both glistening and ferocious, remain acutely aware of the other as they navigate their desires through unspoken words. However, due to the magnitude of the production, every slight falter is noticeable, and the acoustics of the theatre require audiences to strain their ears just a little in order to fully appreciate the subtleties of the dialogue.

Mies Julie is one of the finest modern examples of how a simple story can be stretched to epic proportions, reach new depths of meaning, and challenge the definition of power, choice and love all at once.