Salisbury Playhouse – until Saturday 22nd February 2020.
Reviewed by Leanne Caplis
A Wiltshire Creative and Up in Arms Production brings to the stage Lorca’s Blood Wedding retold by Barney Norris.
Barney Norris has cleverly adapted the play to bring it up to modern day and set in the well-known towns of Wiltshire. For those local to the area they will most definitely be able to recognise the areas spoken about throughout; Shipton Bellinger, Durrington and Imber to name but a few.
Young loves Rob (Reece Evans) and Georgie (Lily Nichol) have not been together long enough or know each other well enough to be getting married so quickly. Or at least that is what Rob’s overprotective mother Helen (Teresa Banham) thinks. Not to be deterred they book a dated, but cheap, hall to hold their reception and it is around this hall that Blood Wedding unfolds.
Will the past of Georgie catch up with her? Has she got something to hide? Georgie bumps into an old school ‘friend’ Danni (Eleanor Henderson) but perhaps this was a relationship best left in the past. With a history kept secret from Rob, he invites Danni along with her husband, also Georgie’s old flame, Lee (Emmet Byrne) to the wedding reception. Will the party go without a hitch or will blood be shed?
The play is all based around the back of Edington Village Hall which is run by the widowed Brian (Jeff Rawle). With no scene changes throughout it might be hard to envisage how a two-hour production can work; but it does!
Whilst the first half did introduce all the characters, I couldn’t make my mind up whether it was a tragic love story or a comedy. With over the top local accents, expletives and teenage tantrums it was hard to take it seriously in some areas. However, the second half is tense, emotional, serious and in some areas very sombre. Watching the audience whilst Rawle tells stories of the past and unfortunately the tragedy that unfolds it is clear to see all are engrossed. It is hard not to be touched by the telling of the story and the tragedy is probably relatable to many; not a pin-drop could be heard.
It was hard to choose the stand-out actor from a small cast of six, but Byrne does deserve a mention. He played his part of a traveller well. His Irish accent, mannerisms and his talk of finding plenty of paid work is relatable to our idea of a traveller.
The script for this play does not lend itself to a younger audience but I would recommend it for adults who like to see lots of plot twists. Whilst the title suggests there will be tragedy at a wedding, I would never have guessed what was to unfold.
It would have been nice to have seen more seats filled but there is still plenty of time for people to book and I expect this was partly due to my review being mid-week. I will not give too much away about the ending but would urge you to book a ticket before this show ends.