Review: Blood Wedding, The Courtyard Theatre ✭✭✭

A moody and atmospheric tone immediately sets as the house lights dim on Aria Entertainment’s latest offering, a production of Lorca’s Blood Wedding which brings a prickling, ominous heat to Hoxton’s Courtyard theatre (both on and offstage- take a fan!). Lorca’s writing is inherently poetic, tumbling over the page with a beautifully tortured grace, mirrored here with the use of physical theatre, dance and music laced through the production. Set in the mountains of rural Spain composer Lewis Greenslade manages to infuse the stage with haunting choral arrangements, acting nicely as foreshadowing techniques to the ensuing tragedy. The wedding scene is a particular highlight, featuring neat choreography that’s still just scrappy enough around the edges to be convincingly folksy.

The ensemble of actors show great guts in their committed attack on Lorca’s lyricism. Mention must go to Matt Wilman who brings a brooding, simmering anger to his portrayal of the lover Leonardo, and to Miles Yekinni’s looming, ominous presence as Death, moving around the actors whispering poison into their ears with beautiful stealth. The strongest female performance in the cast comes courtesy of Cassidy Janson who is achingly underused as the Servant, but shines in the maternal (and musical) moments she effortlessly plays.

Director Bronagh Lagan manages to navigate this often dense and heavy text by ensuring a good ebb and flow of energy and tempo throughout, and there are some nice stylistic decisions at key moments to emphasise the magical realism. Franciso Rondiguez-Weil’s design is simple but appropriate with shabby, worn doors penning the actors into the action, and a strong lighting design from Paul Green ensures the moon takes pride of place within the piece. Once some other technical clunkiness is ironed out this will be a solid show in Aria Entertainment’s ever expanding repertoire.

*** (3 stars)
Runs until 16th November 2013
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