Incense spreads through the Courtyard theatre like the memory of dead sons. Black-veiled women emerge wailing through the thick air. That's the stylish opening to this version of Lorca's tense and passion-fuelled play Blood Wedding, directed by Bronagh Lagan with real flavour.
In a set dominated by doors, lighting designer Paul Green pulls off some impressive, beautiful coloured mists and back-lit doorways. All is enveloped by Lewis Greenslade's evocative composition of frenetic clapping and Mediterranean guitars.
In a small community, family rivalry and deadly histories are hard to forget - and an upcoming wedding is no exception. But the tragedy of this classic feels a bit muted. That's partly because Anna Bamberger as the Bride begins too wooden and is swayed so quickly from stiff and sullen to overeager you can't believe she was really torn between her new fiance (Jack Hardwick) and scowling former lover Leonardo (Matt Wilman). Wilman's push and pull with his unlucky new wife (Elizabeth Mabney) has far more crackle.
Hardwick as the Groom is earnest while his mawkish, death-obsessed mother Lynsey Beauchamp bursts with rage. There are subtle, sympathetic turns from the bride's optimistic father (Patrick Bailey) and her servant Cassidy Janson. Former Hollyoaks regular Tamaryn Payne is the swaying, wide-eyed moon to Miles Yekinni's tall and brooding Death, not restricted to the surreal scenes but stalking throughout the whole show.
The wedding dance with men and women drawing up in ranks against each other is a spicy highlight - but this show's heat is rather inconsistent.
- Vicky Ellis