Federico Garcia Lorca, adapted by George Richmond-Scott with songs by Camilla Mathias
George Richmond-Scott’s bright, stylish adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding sets the play among Spanish migrants in a contemporary UK. Its modernist set doubles convincingly as indoor kitchen and outdoor courtyard. The theatre bar is imaginatively used for the play's wedding feast.
Snatches of Spanish language and the exciting music of Camilla Mathias remind us of the links these people still have with Spain.
A nod to current topicality is given by comments from characters expressing uncertainty about their status in Britain.
A mother urges her son to “stop speaking Spanish all the time” and to speak English.
Someone says it is difficult to get the English to work for them and they are now more likely to be told to “go back to your own country.” Brexit is never mentioned but we know that is the context.
Amongst an engaging cast, Maria de Lima is particularly impressive as a mother haunted by the murder of her husband years before in a knife attack.
Her grief is part of an ominous cloud that hangs over the approaching wedding. And as a young couple race away from that wedding on a motorbike they think will carry them to safety, Yorgos Karamalegos as a leather-clad dancing personification of a vicious moon leads them to their doom.
But the transplant of Blood Wedding to a contemporary UK does undermine Lorca’s identification of deeply conservative Spain in 1932 as the source of the tragedy in the way it caged women to the demands of a claustrophobic tradition built around men. To make your choice of partner outside that cage was to defy your family, your religion and the entire known world. Hence the feverish nightmare of the doomed lovers escape.
This production’s modern UK setting can’t convey that and effectively abandons the play’s commentary on gender relations at a time when sexual relations between men and women have become a key political issue.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna