Marrano, a Tale from the Inquisition
St Andrew's and St George's West, George St
The persecution of the Jewish people of Spain under the might of the Inquisition is a curious footnote in the wide and sweeping wave of destruction that the Catholic Church’s most fervent and zealous adherents dealt upon the world.
The cast of five move around the stage, telling the story of Uriel, a Sevillian Jew and a shoemaker's son. While learning his father’s trade, he suffers through the Jewish persecutions that were replete throughout Spain through the 15th century and the Inquisition’s power. His tragic tale is one of familial devastation and being forced to convert from Judaism and yet still labelled a Marrano, and shunned and suspected by the Zaragozan gentiles.
The use of song and percussive foley throughout, as well as a great deal of movement, shows the company’s clear inspiration from the Lecoq school of thought, but with some genuine moments of ingenuity, especially a harrowing evocation of a burning at the stake.
There’s a backward irony to the staging of a piece aimed so fully at the horrors committed in the name of the cross within the beautiful elliptical well of St Andrew & St George’s church. But the acoustics and the setting only reinforce the power and the horror of the atrocities on display.
It’s a genuine pity that this performance is only running for two nights, as it honestly deserves a wider audience than it will likely garner in the oceans of shows upon which it floats.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan