The Maids tells the story of Solange and Claire, who are two housemaids, who construct elaborate rituals of killing their employer when their Mistress is away.
Jamie Lloyd’s production was a blaze of colour, violence, stillness and humour.
The stage was a traverse stage, the actors inside a box; the floor was a diamond beige and borne marble design, littered with pink petals for the most part. Four wooden pillars held up the ceiling at each corner. The ceiling and floor both lit up whilst every other light turned off during moments of the play. Within the main space, The actors would lift sections from the floor to either decent into the kitchen or bring a prop into the space.
Both Uzo Aduba and Zawe Ashton both sparkled as the maids Solange and Claire. Uzo Aduba’s Solange was level headed, passionate and dry humoured whilst Zawe Ashton’s Claire was temperamental, foolish and impulsive.
Their relationship filtered between plotting a murder together to verbally degrading one another, in true sibling fashion. These two characters evoked sympathy and want for them to escape their lives.
Yet you are never quite sure what to think of the maids. They berate their Mistress and act out how she treats them, yet when the Mistress actually makes an appearance, you feel none of this. The Mistress comes over as spoilt, careless and frivolous, yet not cruel. Not at all like Solange and Claire describe her.
Laura Carmichael as Mistress did not leave much of an impression. A trail of spoiltness, carelessness and frivolousness followed her on the stage, as she snatched and threw clothes and complimented her maids as well as complaining about their habits, before she left, not to be seen again. The Mistress came off as two dimensional and a spoilt girl rather than a cruel employer who deserved to be killed.
Director: Jamie Lloyd
Cast: Uzo Aduba, Zawe Ashton and Laura Carmichael
Playwright: Jean Genet
Adapted By: Benedict Andrews and Andrew Upton
Set Design: Soutra Gilmour
Photo: Marc Brenner