Marthe de Ferrer's production of Federico García Lorca's classic play Blood Wedding defied its initially shaky beginning to achieve a spectacular climax. While not entirely consistent throughout, aspects of this play shone through thanks to the director's creative vision, and the strength of the actors' interpretation.
De Ferrer's inventive fusion of magic characters and real ones to cement the ethereal quality of the play was an intriguing and mostly successful interpretation. Unfortunately, the music and set detracted from the magical realism of the first half. This was a shame, since the second act demonstrated how well it could work, with the sparser set better reflecting the barren environment so often described. Less was once again more with the atmospheric music of the second half, which complemented the lyrical script and helped the actors' engage with the emotional climax.
During the first half, cohesion between actors occasionally lacked, detracting from individual performances. Martha Murphy, however, playing the unstable Mother, went from strength to strength throughout. Performances improved in the second act with confidence, with excellent interplay between Lauren Brown as the Bride, and both Ben Walsh as Leonardo and Murphy again as the Mother. Brown's character showcased the inner conflict of a woman struggling to reconcile sexual and romantic desire with the weight of moral expectation; a key theme of the play, excellently picked up on in direction.
While Ryan Monk's rural English accent at first seemed jarringly at odds with the Spanish setting, his portrayal of the Father brought a breath of reality and even comedy into this otherwise ethereal play. Similarly refreshing, Julia Kass's interpretation of Leonardo's Wife didn't follow the all too obvious path of an emotionally unstable and dependant woman, but added a wry wit and fiery spirit to a more minor character, in contrast with the other female characters.
Admittedly, Lorca's plays can be daunting and difficult to get right, and even more so in translation. It is a fine line between the poetic monologues creating and developing the ominous atmosphere, and detracting from its flow. Rose Reade's fervent portrayal of Death, however, was the standout moment of the play, bringing life to Lorca’s poetry.
Whilst the music and movement at times fell short, the performances carried this production, cutting through the more perfunctory dialogue to successfully conjure a portentous mood.
Blood Wedding is at the ADC, 7.45pm until Saturday. Tickets can be bought here.