Friday, 27 July 2012

Blood Wedding, Malthouse, July 26, 2012 ***

By Federico Garcia Lorca, Adapted by Raimondo Cortese, Malthouse Theatre
Merlin Theatre, Malthouse, until Aug 19, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on July 26

Published on line in Herald Sun on Fri July 27 then in print on Mon July 30, 2012. KH

PICTURE A SPANISH WEDDING where the bride runs off with her married, former boyfriend, and you have Blood Wedding by early 20th century Spanish playwright and poet, Federico Garcia Lorca.

Marion Potts directs his bloody revenge tragedy and poetic dialogue in this bilingual production that features Australian and international actors.

Some of Lorca’s poetry is lost in the updated dialogue but the translation of his longer speeches captures his lyricism and the expressive use of Spanish language maintains his impassioned tone.

The sweltering Spanish heat is palpable in the cavernous space with its dusty floor of golden gravel (The Sisters Hayes) and pools of hazy light (Paul Jackson) evoking the arid, blasted landscape that provides a mocking background to the doomed marriage celebration.

The performances are uneven, but standouts include the dignified Mariola Fuentes as the forbidding widow, mother of the groom, whose pessimistic warnings predict the catastrophic wedding and ensuing blood letting.

Irene del Pilar Gomez as the Sister-in-Law and Beggar Woman is wild and provocative, while the compelling Ruth Sancho Huerga as the servant is vivacious and funny.

There are ardent, physical performances from Matias Stevens as Leonardo, the brittle, resentful, betraying husband, and from David Valencia as the naïve, hopeful Bridegroom.

Greg Ulfan provides an entertaining, slightly crazed Father of the Bride and Ivan Donato as the observer and musician, Moon.

Silvia Colloca as the Bride feels disconnected from the text and her performance is constrained without hinting at the character’s secret ardour.

As the abandoned Wife, Nicole Da Silva’s flattened vocal tone misses the lyrical quality of the dialogue and the character’s passion.

There is certainly much to recommend this production but its pace and acting are uneven and the ending lacks the depth of grief and tragedy of Lorca’s play.

By Kate Herbert

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