Blood Wedding

Written by Federico Garcia Lorca
Rewritten by David Ireland
Presented by Graeae, Dundee Rep and Derby Theatre
Directed by Jenny Sealey
Liverpool Everyman
21st April - 25th April 2015

Review by Colin Serjent

In football parlance a match is sometimes described as being a game of two halves. In a similar way Blood Wedding is a play of two halves!

The first act was difficult to sit through. In an adaptation of an acclaimed Lorca play, performed by a mixture of deaf and disabled people and so-called non-disabled actors (Graeae was founded in 1980 to give an opportunity for deaf and disabled people to appear on stage), in which the tale of passion and violence between two families was transported from the torrid heat of Andalucia in 1932 to a present-day unnamed British city.

The dialogue was often puerile, laced with ultra nasty sexual language, the plot simplistic, and being unaware of Lorca's original version, surely this was a bastardisation of it, particularly when there are references to Primark, Strictly Come Dancing and Emmerdale. It is considered to be full of passion and yearning but the only yearning I felt before the intermission was for it it to end - such was the monotony of the performance.

However what stood out was the performance of the profoundly deaf actress Agnes (EJ Raymond), who was compelling as the mother of the bridegroom, Edward (Ricci McLeod). She had lost her husband and son in a knife attack and was fearful of losing Edward as he is about to marry into the family of the killers.

But the second act proved a revelation. The storyline was far stronger and the dialogue more profound. The most memorable scene was of two homeless women - I was not sure the relevance of their involvement in the story - with their voices eerily reverberating around the Everyman auditorium.

It was about half the length of the first act but far more watchable and relevant to Lorca's original script.

The most memorable aspect of this hit and miss version of Blood Wedding was the combined use of signing, voiceovers and surtitles (dialogue projected onto the stage props), which gave it a unique quality.

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