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SLY Theatre - Blood Wedding

27th to 28th July 2010.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Lights in the depths of Lorca

Blood Wedding, at New Greenham Arts, on Tuesday, July 27 and Wednesday, July 28

This was another outstanding performance by Shining Lights Youth Theatre, and the first directed by Charlotte Allen. Her stripped-down, intimate approach brought the cast and audience closer together, as without a backstage area we were able to observe the actors throughout.

The subtlety and drama were carried out at full force. The stark, bleak backdrop and staging amplifying the raw emotion presented in Lorca's play.

It centres on a widowed mother and her son's plans to marry. The mother, excellently portrayed by Poppy Jermaine, is initially reluctant to let him leave.

Through the servant, played with a cheerful air by Bobbie Anderson, we learn that the bride has still been meeting with her childhood sweetheart, the deeply troubled Leonardo (played with suitable menace by Tom Serruya).

As the wedding day approaches, the bride's despair grows to fever pitch, and Freya Poole shows her torment with great dignity and understanding. When Leonardo approaches her after she is married, they run away together.

As the deserted son, played with real maturity by Elliot Laker, gives chase, the tension changes dramatically and the events are relayed by three ethereal woodcutters (Holly Lucas, Anna Roberts and Abi Kalikwani) each showing new depths in their respective performances.

Caz Harrold gives a brief, haunting turn as the Moon. She is joined by Death (Karim Newton), another complete change from his earlier appearance as the well-meaning father. Their menacing presence signals the death of the son and Leonardo, despite Death's weapon of choice appearing to be kitchen knives, and the chase reaches its inevitable end. There is a horrible familiarity as the women congregate to mourn at the end of the fateful evening. The mother, who fought to keep her son from the violence she knew would inevitably take his life, gives little comfort to the bride as she deals with the consequences of her actions. All are portrayed with real depth and feeling by this young cast, as another excellent production by Shining Lights draws to a close.