Blood Wedding, based on a newspaper account of a wedding in Spain in 1928, shot Lorca to huge success in the world of the arts. The plot centres on a kind and honourable gentleman of a village who is to be wed to a woman of whom the villagers know little about. The bridegroom is hard-working and has thus far lived with his mother, a caring yet eccentric lady who worries about her final remaining son dearly, as her husband and eldest son were both killed by members of the Felix family. A feud between the two families still lingers and her rage and fear at even hearing the name of this family is uncontrollable and resilient. Her concerns for her youngest son heighten when it is discovered that his bride-to-be was once engaged to another man, Leonardo, who happens to be a younger member of the Felix family. The young bride and Leonardo are tensely reunited at the wedding party but there is more history between the pair than the town’s people could have imagined. Mid-way through the wedding celebrations Leonardo is seen riding away with the new bride, leaving his own wife and child abandoned at the festivity while the groom pursues them into the woods.
Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding is a brave and challenging venture to take on by this small theatre group. I commend the Dreamcatcher Theatre Company for their ethos of taking foreign classics and making them accessible and fresh for a British audience.
There are moments of creative and imaginative directing by Fay Lomas. Scenes in the forest are particularly powerful in the way they are brought to life by successfully implemented ideas. This production comes to life fully during the more abstract and experimental parts of the play. It does, however, seem difficult in such a creatively restricting space to attempt such a theatrical abstract production – this theatre is simply a conference room draped with black cloth, a few lights and one door that is used by both actors and audience. As a result, it requires the audience to work hard at suspending our disbelief and I personally, at times, found myself distracted from the story.
However, after a slow start the cast find their energy and pace, and deliver a solid and stimulating performance. Chris Machari and Bobbi O’Callaghan have convincing chemistry on stage as Leonardo and his anguished wife. Jessica Tomlinson, as the bride, gives a commanding and believably anguished performance that drives the play throughout.
Blood Wedding is playing at the Bread and Roses Theatre until 22 August. For more information and tickets, see the Bread and Roses Theatre website. Photo: Dreamcatcher Theatre Company.