Strawdog’s “After Miss Julie” Review – Class and Gender Warfare

(left to right) Maggie Scrantom, Anita Deely and John Henry Roberts

 

If you are a Strawdog Theatre fan you come expecting top-notch acting.  Even with those expectations, the three-person cast of “After Miss Julie” simply astounds.

 

Replete with the smell of kidneys cooking on the stove, the action begins to unfold in a manor’s kitchen where Christine the cook (Anita Deely) tends to her same old same old life with her betrothed, John, her boyfriend and the manor owner’s butler, John (John Henry Roberts), when the daughter of the manor’s house, Julie (Maggie Scrantom) comes downstairs to make mischief.   Julie wields the powers of her class and sex with a passion recently stoked by a personal disappointment.

 

(left to right)Maggie Scrantom, John Henry Roberts and Anita Deely

 

This all takes place at just the time when post-war England is rejecting manor-born Winston Churchill and what ensues is filled with that moment when up becomes down and down becomes up. 

 

Maggie Scrantom and John Henry Roberts

 

It wasn’t so long ago when the class hang-ups of Brits seemed to many of us such antiquated relics of the past.  Now however, with the class divide in America seeming to widen by the hour and as the undertow of a war on women seems to be pulling us under, this story of class and gender warfare has newfound relevance.

 

Maggie Scrantom and John Henry Roberts

 

That is something you will likely ponder though long after the final curtain.  The acting is so riveting that your immersion in the action is total and all-inclusive leaving your mind with little room for real-time reflection.

 

This reviewer has made a strong mental note to shortlist any future work directed by Elly Green or with members of this superb cast. 

 

How interesting to ponder Strawdog’s track record in the context of their less-than-performance friendly theater space.  They are soon to leave that column-adorned stage for new surrounds and hope to have a permanent home for their 2017 season.

 

“After Miss Julie” runs through September 26.

 

Strawdog Theatre

3829 North Broadway

 

For tickets or information visit the Strawdog Theatre website or call Ovation Tix at 866-811-4111.

 

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Photos:  Chris Ocken, Ocken Photography

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