<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysFiggis tackles Strindberg's chamber piece with rigour born of necessity. Shot in 16 days, the production is saddled with what looks like a flimsy hand-me-down BBC set (the action never leaves the kitchen of a large Swedish country house), and has only three principal speaking parts. But it's enthralling. Figgis asks us to listen and to watch as, one heady midsummer night, the young lady of the house, Miss Julie (Burrows), flirts with her father's footman Jean (Mullan). She is tipsy, depressed (her engagement has just been broken off) and reckless. He's wary, fiercely proud, angry about his lot and, once he gets the scent of opportunity, ravenous. This is a cold, cruel, eviscerating play. The lovers - if they can be called that - are poisoned by the class and power structures they recognise, but utterly fail to surmount. Yet the shifting power balance is what makes the drama so compelling. By filming in long, merciless takes, Figgis plugs us straight into the electricity between the performers, with Burrows haughty and vulnerable, towering over Mullan's white-knuckle fist of resentment and despair.