Home » London Theatre Reviews » Blood Wedding at Omnibus Theatre, Clapham | Review

Blood Wedding at Omnibus Theatre, Clapham | Review

Blood WeddingThe main themes brought out in this production of Blood Wedding have a striking relevance to life in contemporary London. That is not, unfortunately, the greatest of compliments. When The Mother (Maria de Lima) recalls that her husband, as well as many others, were victims of knife attacks, it resonates with the rise in knife crime. There are, as ever, dangers in reading too much into statistics, but the fact that a London Knife Crime Summit was called earlier this year is an indicator that there’s a significant problem.

Not everything works well in a production that takes the play out of its original setting in 1930s rural Spain to present-day London. When The Bride (Racheal Ofori) and Leo (Ash Rizi) cannot be found, other characters take it upon themselves to physically search for them, whereas I would have thought the natural instinct would be to, in this day and age, send a text message and/or spread the word on social media, or even the old-fashioned method of using voicemail. One certainly wouldn’t think it safe to go out in the dystopian image of the capital portrayed by The Mother, and in any event, there is no indication that anyone knows where they might have gone.

Quite why it is important that they are found sooner rather than later is clear in the context of the narrative, in case anyone was wondering why on earth two adults are being treated as though they were missing children. Elsewhere, a late reference to the Moon would be more pertinent in the play’s original setting than it is here. Much of the music, too, enjoyable as it was, would be better served in a production set in Spain. The characters’ sentiments translate well, though I couldn’t quite see why some in the audience saw it fit to burst into laughter at the bitter statements pouring out from The Mother: here is someone who has reasons to be angry and frustrated.

Much of the second half dissolves into abstract scenes and melodrama. Contrasting with the earlier plot-driven action, this was a case of ‘talking heads’ by comparison – such that when The Mother threatens to do something rather unpleasant, I strangely wished she would, if only to witness something – anything – happening. It all eventually left me with little sympathy for anyone, except The Wife (Miztli Rose Neville), and even she doesn’t, as Leo points out, hold down a job. So, if she needs more money, she should know what to do. Anyway, after the wedding of the show’s title happens, such are the outgoings of various characters that I wondered what was going on in the other room where almost everyone had disappeared to. The production had an impressive and inventive way of revealing both the other room and the dialogue that transpires there.

The production makes good use of the available performance space. Some physical theatre, whilst visually impressive, doesn’t add much to the production, whose dialogue can more than speak for itself. Some surtitles would have been useful for the few bits of the conversation entirely in Spanish, though the use of both languages adds authenticity for characters for whom English is not their native tongue. The various elements of the production didn’t quite come together to make a sum greater than the whole of its parts. There’s some strong acting to be enjoyed, though.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Celebrated Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca’s 1932 folk tragedy is deftly pulled into sharp focus in this dark and seductive re-imagining.

Think it’ll get better? You know it’s a lie.
We’re burning up inside and it’s destroying us both.
What happens when it’s too late to escape – then you open the door and run?
Will fate cut you down? Will you ever breathe easily again?

Lorca’s classic tragedy is set in modern-day London. This contemporary adaptation of passion and vendetta explosively blends grit, fate and claustrophobia, with a streak of dark humour.

Told in a bold physical style with original live music and movement.
Truth and oil always come to the surface…
Presented and adapted by George Richmond-Scott
Q&A with Blood Wedding director and adaptor George Richmond-Scott

Listings information
Dates: Tue 4 – Sun 23 September 2018, 7.30pm, Sundays 4pm (excl Mon)
For ages 12+

Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London, SW4 0LH.
Box Office: Tel: 020 7498 0544
www.omnibus-clapham.org

Twitter: @BloodWedding18
Facebook: @bloodweddinglondon
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