Theatre review: Blood Wedding
David Ireland’s update preserves the intensity of Lorca’s classic play
Even in David Ireland's natty update, Lorca's Blood Wedding retains a stereotypical Spanish intensity. Love may try to conquer all but nothing overcomes a knife in the back, as the competing forces of revenge and desire collide
A strong ensemble cast, articulate direction from Jenny Sealey and a brooding soundtrack from Philip Pinsky ensure that Lorca's themes are not lost: the call of family loyalty on the groom (Ricci McLeod) is represented by comically dour mother (Alison Halstead), while Amy Conachan's lively, flirtatious bride explains her attractiveness to groom and ex-lover Leo (Mile Mitchell). The fierce sexual desire that leads her to run away with Leo is tangible in their earliest scenes, making their desperate escape inevitable.
Ireland's adaptation is careful: adding in audio descriptions of key scenes, and using the surtitles to subtle effect, the unfolding of the tragedy is cautious but clear. His liberal humour – especially in the wedding party and the depictions of family, daily life – is balanced against the threat of violence and his even-handedness (even the absconding bride and Leo are drawn compassionately) makes the final anguish all the more touching.
The action, unfortunately, drags in the later part of the second act: McLeod's transformation into hard man is unconvincing, as is the knife fight, but this comes from the detailed characterisation of his positive attitude in the first act. But Blood Wedding is a thoughtful and provocating production that throws new questions about destiny, loyalty and social stigma into a well-worked classic.
Blood Wedding runs at Dundee Rep until Sat 14 Mar