LORCA’s torrid and claustrophobic play Blood Wedding was a huge challenge for the young actors who joined the Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School Summer Company this year, which provided the hottest rehearsal period on record.
Updated from the 1930s to the 1970s, the focus was on the knives that were destined to deprive two young men, competing for the love of a girl, of their lives. Lorca’s plays are essentially and viscerally stories of rural Spain, but the huge increase in knife crime in the UK (and elsewhere) in the 2020s brings a different emphasis and relevance to this almost century-old parable from Andalusia.
The overwhelming constraints of religious observance and family feuds are writ large and poetical in Lorca’s works, and never more so than in Blood Wedding, where the outcome is inevitable and evident from the moment the curtain goes up. At the Egg, an intimate space at Bath Theatre Royal designed for youth theatre, The Bride to Be (Nancy Tait) must decide between love and duty. She SHOULD marry The Bridegroom (Alex Robson), but her heart and soul follow her former lover, Leonardo, (Lucas Kover Wolf) now married to The Wife (Willow Fedor).
The groom’s mother (Angel Johnson), who has already lost a husband and son in the centuries-old feud, is certain of the outcome and powerless to alter fate. Father of the Bride (Campbell Maddox) and the Maid (Emily Hickman) provided strong and charismatic support.
Director Soph Jacobs-Wyburn and the talented young company wove the oppressive atmosphere of the piece, aided by a simple set and some well chosen music, although the final song was a little too simplistic for such a multi-layered and poetic play.
As in several of the summer school plays, since the shows moved in from Storm on the Lawn at Prior Park, I wish that more attention had been given to projection. The Egg may be a small and intimate space, but head-down mumbling is no more audible here than it would have been in the wide open spaces of the Ball Court. Or maybe I’m just getting old.