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Blood Wedding @ Birmingham Mac

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by dpm (subscribe)
dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
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Lorca play takes to the sky
Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding was based on a real case in which a young woman who was the subject of an arranged marriage dumped the Groom the night before the wedding and ran off with her true love only for it to end in tears, or rather blood.

Lorca took the kernel of the story and turned it into a classic of 20th century Spanish literature. Gifted at creating that stifling powder keg which is traditions and expectations versus real life and real passion, Blood Wedding is one of his most popular works.

Here it is given a new interpretation by Birmingham-based physical theatre company RoguePlay. They take out much of the conversation and instead turn to circus skills to tell the tale.

At times this is very effective. Physical theatre is a great way of showing deep emotion so it captures the illicit passion between the Bride and her lover Leonardo with real feeling. It is also a clever device used at the wedding as the two couples swap and change partners almost without realising as they dance through the space until suddenly the lovers are gone.

It also allows for a good use of space and staging with the wedding scene captured by the Bride being lifted into the air trailing a long train of red and white.

Blood Wedding, Lorca, mac
Kim Charnock as the Bride in Lorca's Blood Wedding

But the dependence on physical theatre also detracts from the story, not least because it slows the pace down and, at times, confuses the tale. In Lorca's play the fate of the lovers is in the hands of Death in the guise of a Beggar and the Moon and while this production brings these characters to the stage it is never quite clear who or what they are.

The need to constantly higher and lower trapezes and other equipment also necessitates gaps between the scenes which reduces the pace and the tension.

Lorna Meehan gives the role of Mother a fair attempt but never quite catches the raw bitterness of the character. Here is a woman who has suffered and who will continue to suffer. The words are there but they never quite convince.

Kim Charnock manages a fine balance of uncertainty and doubt. Without free will to make her own choices she is accepting a role which society had given her until tempted to break free for what she really wants.

Her lover Leonardo is played by Israel Costa as an angry young man when faced with his own dilemmas and yet someone who is capable of great tenderness with the one he loves.

Aaron Twitchen takes the role of a Bride Groom who passes from blind adoration to revengeful killer and Anna Simpson proves to be multi-faceted as she switches from Wife, to Maid, to Moon.

This production, which is 85 minutes without an interval, is an imaginative re-reading of Lorca's Blood Wedding with plenty of new ideas but it would benefit from a closer connection between the narrative and the physical theatre.

Premiered at Birmingham's mac, Blood Wedding is now on tour with dates including London's Jacksons Lane on Oct 14-15, Shrewsbury Severn Theatre on Oct 22, Bristol's Circomedia on Oct 30, London's Redbridge Drama Centre on Nov 11-12, Doncaster Cast on Nov 14, Wellingborough's The Castle on Nov 18 and the Maltings Theatre in Berwick-on-Tweed on Nov 20.

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Why? Physical theatre gives new twist on classic
Where: mac, birmingham
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