Plaza Theatre, Romsey

AUGUST Strindberg's play, written in 1888, introduces us to Julie, daughter of the Count, Jean the senior valet and Kristin the cook. Laura Messenger makes a confident company debut in the title role, one that requires regular changes of mood but drawn to Jean. Alex Sleigh is equally impressive as Jean, playing mind-games with his mistress that lead to a tragic ending that is not entirely unexpected. Jo Short gives good support as Kristin, perhaps engaged to Jean but never confirmed by either party. The set is simple and well-dressed but effective and in the intimate setting of the Green Room Studio the audience is close enough to catch every nuance of the wordy script. The costumes, too, were appropriate. Director Peter Moore has directed several plays for the company, the majority being comedies, but rose to the challenge of this thought-provoking piece successfully.

Alan Johns