The very small and baron black box space of The Old Red Lion Theatre leaves much to the imagination with only a bench, a stool and a small pile of books in a very dimly lit set.
Wolf Kisses is originally a Spanish piece of theatre that examines the fragile boundaries between love, illusion and self-exile. Both realistic and poetic, the writer Paloma Pedrero draws from the great masters of the classical Spanish Golden Age, and poets like Lorca and Jimenez, to explore issues of individual freedom, social stigma, taboos and genuine communication.
Throughout the production there were well executed moments of comedy depicted explicitly to the audience. Examples of this were when Luciano – Ana’s childhood friend who is a closeted homosexual – is trying to counteract his homosexuality by fondling Ana – the protagonist who returned from the convent back to her small town of Jara waiting for her distant fiancé – in the hope that he would enjoy. Alas, he didn’t and it was a very awkward moment which was portrayed to the audience very well.
Wolf Kisses claimed to have an original score which it did, however with there only being one instrument – a Spanish guitar – it fell short of expectations when compared to the usual performances claiming an ‘original score’. The guitar was utilised for scene transitions, as well as the guitarist being included in certain segments of the performance which was something slightly innovative about the production.
The acting throughout the show was somewhat questionable also as there are moments when certain accent traits of the characters slipped into what seems more natural for the performers – some contemporary voice traits came through. In addition to this, the action between the characters escalated extremely quickly, which we as the audience were not sure if that was due to the translation of the original script or how the actors portrayed the characters. However, some of the performance style, due to the accelerated heightened moments, seemed somewhat presentational and not true to the characters.
Wolf Kisses will have a niche market of people that it appeals to however I do not think that it is a particularly commercial piece of theatre.
Reviewed by Tom Yates
Wolf Kisses is playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre until 27 July 2014