Stage Review

After Miss Julie (2009)

Sienna Miller | AFTER MISS JULIE Jonny Lee Miller and Sienna Miller
Image credit: Joan Marcus
AFTER MISS JULIE Jonny Lee Miller and Sienna Miller
EW's GRADE
C

Details Opening Date: Oct 22, 2009; Lead Performances: Jonny Lee Miller and Sienna Miller; Writer: Patrick Marber; Director: Mark Brokaw; Genre: Drama

Based on a play by 19th-century Swedish playwright August Strindberg, Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie instills the upstairs-downstairs tension of a film like Atonement with the raw sexual pulse Marber later perfected in his late-'90s drama Closer. Re-set in a fabulous, artfully lit representation of a 1945 British estate's kitchen, the three-person play tackles class prejudices intertwined with a classic battle of the sexes. Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) is solid as John, the simple chauffeur who forsakes his patient betrothed (a sly Marin Ireland) for a taste of forbidden fruit. After his fiancée retires one night, he engages in an illicit fling with the master's daughter, the haughty but crumbling Miss Julie (Sienna Miller). Though the two characters have a well of self-loathing in common, the actors' chemistry is surprisingly stagnant. When the audience is finally willing to accept that John is merely the instrument for Julie's self-destruction, the play inconveniently asserts the lovers' long-suppressed pining for each other, which only underlines the performers' shortcomings. The two lovers trade verbal blows, while deciding whether to run away to New York City. ''The Americans are charmed by us,'' says poor, bland John. ''They die for the accent.'' I wish it were so. C

Tickets: roundabouttheatre.org or 212-719-1300

Originally posted Oct 22, 2009