Review: Blood Wedding, by Federico Garcia Lorca, adapted by David Ireland, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, to April 16

Blood Wedding

Blood Wedding - Credit: Archant

This adaptation brings together a strong, diverse group of black, disabled and non-disabled actors and moves the action from hot and steamy Andalusia to contemporary urban Britain.

This is experimental theatre and while the purists will complain much of the dialogue is bereft of Lorca’s poetic fluidity it achieves what director Jenny Sealey sets out to create, namely a new platform for the disabled and marginalised in the form of a modern day soap opera.

With the use of integrated sign language, surtitles and audio description the nine actors play out a story of misplaced passion and violent revenge.

Agnes (EJ Raymond), mother of the prospective bridegroom, is in permanent mourning for her husband and son who died violently at the hands of the rival Felix family, whom she now hates with a vengeance.

Her remaining son Edward (Ricci McLeod) abhors the past violence and on the eve of his wedding to Olivia (Amy Conachan) believes their love can lay it to rest. He brushes aside his mother’s forebodings in a valiant attempt to break the cycle of violence and revenge.

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The themes of violent death, fate and life’s choices are played out with increasing drama as it emerges Olivia has had a relationship with one of the Felix family.

Agnes resists Edward’s assurance Leonardo Felix (here called Lee and played by Miles Mitchell) is safely married to Vicky (Millie Turner). Not seeing the tragedy that lies ahead Edward happily enjoys his Elvis-inspired wedding feast convinced his bride’s feelings for Lee were history.

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Some of the dialogue was gratuitously OTT and the two lady tramps - taking the place of Lorca’s woodcutters - slowed the action a little. All in all, the actors got their point across and the production achieved its aim.

Carol Twinch

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