Blood Wedding at the Young Vic
Given the nation’s current political turmoil and frighteningly polarised population, it’s not surprising that a classical drama about blood feuds would be revived. Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding is a particularly powerful example, featuring deep conflicts between individuals and tribalism, passion and tradition. Marina Carr’s new version of the classic captures the force of the original, turning this production into a bleak and horrifying take on a modern blood feud.
After a failed courtship between Leonardo (Gavin Drea) and the Bride (Aoife Duffin) due to the former’s hot-headedness and jealousy, the latter is forced into a marriage with the Groom (David Walmsley), while Leonardo marries the Bride’s cousin (Scarlett Brookes). But the tension rises quickly due to an ancient blood feud between the families of the Groom and Leonard, the Bride’s unflagging love for her former fiancé and the dark influence of the Groom’s matriarchal mother (Olwen Fouéré).
A lot of this adaptation’s power stems from the skilled directing of Yaël Farber, who brings together an impressive team of creatives including sound designer Emma Laxton and composer Isobel Waller-Bridge – who create an incredibly potent soundscape oozing with atmosphere – and a gorgeously apt set design by Susan Hilferty which never fails to paint a picture of the play’s tribal setting between plains and mountains.
The cast is equally strong. Duffin portrays an exceptionally convincing Bride torn between the worlds of her undying love and sturdy individualistic nature, and that of her family home, tradition and the costs that come with it. Fouéré convinces immediately as the matriarch who places family above all else and is consequently unable to forget the ancient feud which has stained her life from the beginning.
But it is in the plot that Farber’s production shows its strongest colours. All of the characters feel real, all of them have a history of making mistakes and suffering the consequences for their actions; nobody is entirely innocent at the end of the day. These are real people enduring the tyranny of excessive group thinking and a pathological insistence on tradition, neither of which are harmful in the right dosage, but both of which can cause great harm when taken to the extreme.
Blood Wedding at the Young Vic is a tremendous success which is as atmospheric and entertaining as it is horrifying and depressing, making it an important piece through and through.
Photo: Marc Brenner
Blood Wedding is at the Young Vic from 19th September until 2nd November 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the cast discussing the show here: