Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
The Courtyard – 23rd October 2013
Surrealism is a word frequently associated with Lorca’s writing and Blood Wedding is no exception. Possibly my favourite of his plays (despite studying it in both Spanish and English), Bodas de sangre is a story that can be interpreted and performed in many different ways.
A tragic tale of love, betrayal and murder, Death is ever-present throughout the play, ominously shadowing the characters. It should be a time of celebration as the Bride and Groom are preparing for their wedding, but the Bride is still in love with Leonardo, whose Father killed the Groom’s Father and Brother many years ago. Blood will be shed, but will it be for love, honour or revenge?
A simple stage surrounded by doors of different shapes and sizes, with an eerie moon shining above. The mourners appear, all dressed in black and chanting. The Mother (Lynsey Beauchamp) is grieving, but who are they weeping for?
The pace of the play is fast, with some of Lorca’s beautiful (translated) words and symbolism almost lost, but the energy keeps the piece flowing well. Movement is fluid and the contrast between the dancing of the wedding party and the Moon (Tamaryn Payne) is nicely done.
Payne also takes on the role of Girl and her excitable, childish traits are replaced with a serious and ethereal, almost flirtatious performance, which works well and is a new interpretation of the Moon.
Beauchamp is another strong actor in this production, delivering Lorca’s lines perfectly and (unusually) making the Mother a character to be pitied. Meanwhile Cassidy Janson (Servant) subtly injects comedy into her character, which is actually an inspired decision and shows a new side to the role.
Mat Wilman (Leonardo) captures his character’s brooding nature well and Miles Yekinni is suitably intimidating as Death, lurking in the shadows and dogging the characters’ footsteps with creepy dance-like movements.
The music (composed by Lewis Greenslade) and song arrangement helps to capture the mood and shares more of the poetic language, whilst the simplicity of the staging and costumes helps to keep the attention on the action.
Although the majority of the cast are strong, it does feel a little unbalanced. Several key roles are played by actors who fail to match the others’ acting abilities and words are frequently lost through poor enunciation. This sadly affects the overall impression of the piece.
However, the essence of Lorca’s magic realism is not lost and this is still a powerful and enjoyable interpretation.
Photo by Claire Bilyard