On the whole the works of Lorca tend to be characterised by their musicality and their poetic nature. Treves’ vision of Blood Wedding captures this well, and the focus is constantly drawn to the lines between song and speech; dance and movement; and verse and voice. The original score written for the production, combined with the excellent choreography, underpins this throughout the show, and is undoubtedly the most stunning element of it. We are taken – both through the string trio and the electric, synthesised undertones – from a countryside, timeless, Spanish setting to the passionate and terrifying murder. While there were moments of uncertainty and bad timing in the performance, it is obvious to the audience that the dances and movement have been thought up with both care and style.
There are moments when the characterisation is unconvincing – McCabe as the bridegroom only comes into his own in the second half, and some of the poetry in the writing was lost due to forgotten lines. The pacing in parts of the first half is slightly off as well, although this could well be blamed on first night nerves, as it did pick up in the second half. However, it is when there are the fewest players on stage that the choreography is truly pulled off, and this applies to the blocking as well. Beatrice Liese and Josh Ames Blackaby are a beautiful on stage couple, with chemistry only matched by the two dancers who perform during the most passionate scene, between the two forbidden lovers. Imogen Hamilton-Jones as the mother, who both opens and closes the play, is stunning, and in every scene the eye is drawn straight to her.
The mother also highlights the deliberate dissonances in Lorca’s song: the contrast between the pastoral country life, of vineyards and horses; and the tragic family feud, with its knives and rifles, that cuts straight to the heart of the idyllic setting. Again the score and the choreography emphasize this feeling, and make the language used to describe the deaths – flowers and shells, bizarrely beautiful – seem like a farce. It’s the moments of discord and contradiction like these that the production really gets right, and when it does, it is phenomenal.
‘Blood Wedding’ is playing at St John’s Auditorium from 25th-27th February at 7:30