Paul Johnson | 04 Apr 2014 09:02am
Photo: KDC Theatre
Blood Wedding is one of those plays that has largely entered the cultural consciousness – whether you’ve seen it, or read it, or not, we all know the score: it’s heavy going, it’s tense, it’s dramatic, it’s tragic.
It was a pleasant surprise, then, to see a version of the Spanish melodrama played with such a light touch, as in Kate Moore’s KDC production of the Lorca classic.
Making great use of classical Spanish music and flamenco dancing, this production had a fabulous air of ‘all fun and games until someone loses an eye’, and it was refreshing to experience this play as a celebration gone wrong, rather than a tragedy waiting to happen.
A strong performance by Emma Knott, with spot on reactions from those playing opposite her, illustrated beautifully the sense of a woman who is rightfully bereft – having lost one of her two sons and her husband – serving to make it impossible to just tell her to please stop going on about it. How can you say that? How can she stop, she’s heartbroken?
There were some extremely powerful performances on display, particularly among the supporting cast: Asma Mani as the Wife especially worthy of note, showing outstanding stage presence, and perfectly illustrating a sense of fragility of life, as she holds her baby just that little bit closer, knowing that other mothers are without their children.
Ade Gbinigie as the Servant managed to expertly combine naturalism and melodrama, and had an energy that drove the scenes in which she featured. Ami Sawran also impressed, as a Beggar Woman character who in this production is elevated to a form of Greek chorus – watching the entire action; judging the leading players, and ultimately revelling in the chaos.
There was a very nice sense of impending doom just breaking through the surface, and a wonderful moment where things take a turn for the worse – a lovely ‘tipping point’ feel. And a wedding dance section had a fabulous sense of shoddiness – a slick, highly choreographed, over-rehearsed work would not have sat as well with the sense of family festivities and joyous exuberance. The dancing was danced, not performed, and was so so much the better for it.
Costume was very well thought out, with the Beggar Woman’s dress a particular highlight, and ‘money’ vs ‘no money’ expressed very well with very little, and the set was nicely put together (although the mix of real trees and stylised ones jarred ever so slightly). The lighting however, was some of the best this reviewer has seen in a very, very, long time, working almost as a 15th member of the cast and adding drama and tension, as well as setting mood and scene spectacularly. At the key point in the action lighting, sound and performance combined to create a piece of theatre that was truly breathtaking. Indeed more than once a blackout was accompanied by a combined release of breath from the audience, and what more could you possibly want from a production than that.
Please go and catch this extremely strong production while you can, it’s well worth watching.
Photo: KDC Theatre
- : admin
- : 01/04/2014