Review: Blood Wedding, University Drama Studio

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Federico Garcia Lorca’s tragic play is expertly directed by Selina Thompson. She squeezes every last drop of acting prowess from a huge cast of twenty-two.

A mother is reluctant to give her blessing for her son’s marriage, on learning that his bride was once involved with Leonardo Felix; whose family slew her husband and other son.

The bride with a bad case of post wedding jitters runs off with unhappily married Leonardo and inevitably blood is spilled.

The English language translated from Spanish is surprisingly poetic and has a Shakespearean feel, despite being written in 1932.

A further pleasing adaptation, which works well is the mostly original folky rock music, written and played by the live band and sung by the actors to further the plot.

Todd Baker even throws in a rendition of Massive Attack’s Teardrop during an ardent dance between the bride and Leonardo.

Thompson keeps the action going at a fair old pace, chopping between sentimental scenes between mother and son and fantastic, joyful scenes of nuptial celebrations.

Emily Grace Thew is wonderful as the mother, brooding and stoically containing her emotions until the denouement. Anna Rowlands who plays her nemesis, the bride, brings a confusion of passion and remorse to her role.

The second half brings a darker mood to the proceedings. There are terrific cameos from a playful, impish Mari Isomaki as Moon and a slithering, writhing, Tom Dixon as Death. Together they are a Grim Reaper double act, baying for blood.

Stephen Grigg