Oxford Theatre Guild cordially invites you to the Oxford Playhouse to witness the performance of Blood Wedding, Lorca’s tale of passion and betrayal set under the burning Spanish sun.
The Bride and the Groom are getting married. The Bride however is torn between the honour and prosperity that will come from her impending nuptials, and the fact that she is still in love with the now unhappily married Leonardo, with whom she used to be involved. Leonardo is from the family that killed the Groom’s father. The Groom’s mother is naturally very angry about this. The personification of Death lurks about ominously in the background. It’s fairly clear this is not going to end well.
Intense plays of this nature always tread a fine line between passion and unhinged melodrama. This production, whether consciously or not, veers towards the latter. This creates quite a confusing tone, inspiring laughter where it seems there should have been despair at the inevitability of loss and death.
This staging of Blood Wedding would probably be a challenge to any theatre company, let alone an amateur one such as the Oxford Theatre Guild. It requires performances of tightly wound drama and passion, of chant, poetry, and flamenco, and of singing, the majority of which is unaccompanied. Not to mention the fact that the play is highly symbolic; in the second half the Moon and Death have a chat, just after the forest - taking the function of a Greek chorus - has caught the audience up on the action.
The cast and crew clearly put a lot into the production (with particular mention for the set designers) but ultimately it feels like they have given themselves too much to do. Though I rather enjoyed the spectacle of the second half, I did feel that for much of it I was lost in the forest in the midst of a lunar eclipse.