Young Vic Theatre Autumn 2019
Garcia Lorca's classic
tragedy of passion and doom gets as powerful and evocative a
production as you could wish for at the hands of adaptor Marina Carr
and director Yael Farber.
Lorca's play is set in a
village, where Catholicism sits alongside pagan superstitions, honour
and vengeance are palpable things, and decades-long grievances and
hatreds remain alive.
Two families who have
taken turns killing each
other for as long as anyone can remember are brought together when a
man from each clan loves the woman named in the cast list only as
Leonardo wooed her and
was rejected and now the man
identified only as Groom wins and weds her. But on impulse she runs
away with Leonardo right after the wedding, leading to a meeting of
the men that is as fatal as it is inevitable.
audaciously moves the play from Spain to Ireland, and it works
brilliantly, the sense of an enclosed, religion-and-fable-haunted and
honour-obsessed culture translating smoothly.
As a bonus, Lorca's
Spanish-rhythmed dialogue spoken in an Irish accent creates a verbal
music both beautiful and just other-worldly enough to support Lorca's
hints of the supernatural at work.
Yael Farber's direction
smoothly between modes, from naturalistic to symbolic, serious to
comic, poetic to violent.
A chorus-like figure
identified only as The
Weaver is the voice of history, reminding us of the past, warning of
the future and quietly exulting when her dark predictions come true.
The scene of the marriage contract being agreed on is black comedy,
with the parents of the Bride and Groom bargaining over them as if
they were prize cattle.
In a trope I associate
with Kneehigh Theatre,
passion is made visible through defying gravity, a man's exultant
horseback ride presented as he runs about the stage hanging on a rope
that makes his feet barely touch the ground.
Later the eloping lovers
are literally carried away by their passion in an aerial ballet. And
even later it is a dead body that leaves the ground, director Farber
creating a powerful visual pun that captures Lorca's equation of love
One thing this
production makes very clear is that,
despite strong performances by Gavin Drea and David Walmsley, the men
are really interchangeable and peripheral. This play belongs to the
women in it.
performance is by Olwen Fouere as the
Groom's mother, the embodiment of the feud. The actress dominates the
stage in all her scenes, powerfully and rightly reminding us that
anger and hatred are at least as much the subject of the play as
Aoife Duffin introduces the Bride as quiet, modest and happy in her choice of groom but makes us believe the impulse that forces her to run away and the mix of excitement and foreboding she experiences afterwards.
Brid Brennan as the
Weaver carries an ominous air even as
she hovers silently around the edges of the action, and Thalissa
Teixeira sustains the play's complex emotional atmosphere with
evocative scene-punctuating Spanish songs.
At close to two hours without interval, any show could be heavy going. But this Blood Wedding catches you from the opening and holds you within its reality throughout so that whatever time is passing outside the theatre becomes irrelevant.
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Review - Blood Wedding - Young Vic Theatre 2019