There have been some unforgettable versions of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, most memorably Yaël Farber’s extraordinary South African version. But there may never have been one set at a New York BDSM party. That’s the setting for Kim Davies’ play, which premiered off Broadway in 2014 and now gets it’s UK premiere. A lot has changed since then in attitudes towards women, consent and, indeed, kink, so it will be interesting to see how it plays. But it has two interesting directors at the helm: Julia Levai and Polina Kalinina, who are both building reputations for themselves.
This sharp and provocative piece makes its London Premiere in an all-new production directed by powerhouse female team Polina Kalinina and Júlia Levai - starring Oli Higginson (Netflix’s Bridgerton,The Last Five Years, Southwark Playhouse & West End LAVA, Soho Theatre) and Meaghan Martin (Never Not Once - Park Theatre, Camp Rock, 10 Things I Hate About You). The story takes place in early 2010s New York City at a BDSM party. Julie (Meaghan Martin) is a privileged college dropout dipping her toes into the world of S&M. She meets John (Oli Higginson), a cynical struggling artist willing to act as her guide. Their whirlwind encounter starts as a sexually-charged game of cat and mouse, but as they get to know each other these seemingly self-possessed characters have their boundaries and notions of consent challenged. The consequences are irreparable and unsettling. SMOKE is a piercingly witty and sometimes painful exploration of gender, sexuality and desire. It reminds us that, similar to these imperfect characters, we still have much to learn. Critics’ Pick of The New York Times & Time Out New York in 2014. “Intense, provocative, and exceedingly clever.” The New York Times “A cynical, magnetic miniature about consent.” Time Out New York “Such an important play... unflinching.” New York Theatre Review