IN THE current Northern Voices 13, now on sale at most of our outlets, Chris Draper judges his Six O' the Best Theatres of the North of England. The Royal Exchange, Manchester must figure in his thinking here as he ponders the architectural gems among his 'six superlative venues' of the North: up for consideration here must be such wonderful towns and cities as Leeds, Newcastle, Scarborough, Blackpool, York, Liverpool, Hull, and Keswick's Theatre on the Lake; which will come out top? Currently the Exchange must be a runner with northerner, Maxine Peake,now performing as 'Miss Julie' in August Strindberg's play of the same name. Of this play The Guardian reviewer of 'Miss Julie' at Manchester's Royal Exchange writes:
'Maxine Peake stated in a 2011 Guardian interview that the two things that make her most unhappy are 'misogyny and capitalism'. It's a fine sentiment, though it makes you wonder if she's finding much joy in the role of an aristocratic woman whose transgression below stairs earns her the contempt of her father's valet.'
While The Telegraph reviewer writes:
'This is a production that penetrates the heart of Strindberg’s disconcerting masterpiece, and one of the best productions I have ever seen at the Royal Exchange.'
Miss Julie by August Strindberg
Royal Exchange, Manchester: Until 12 May
0161 833 9833 Venue website David Eldridge's new version sticks closely to Strindberg's original recipe of seduction and remorse. Though the language has been roughened up a bit (the Italian lake district is dismissed as 'a pisshole'), the location, a late-19th-century Swedish estate on midsummer eve, remains unaltered.
Northern Voices' leading cultural critic, Chris Draper, admits 'I'm biased against Manchester' arguing 'it's too big and boastful and we don't need another London in the North...', but what does he have to say about the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre? To find out send £2.50 (or £5 for the next two issues)cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' for a copy of the printed version of 'Northern Voices' to Northern Voices: c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH. Tel. 0161 793 5122. E-mail: email@example.com