Royal National Theatre (Cottesloe), London SE1
Opened 17 December, 1991

Cuba, on a set that could have been designed by a Catalan, Salvador Dalí: a cross stands above a flimsy veil of drapery, lilies thrust through oil drums. It gives visual form to the verdure of Lorca's poetry, in a production which elsewhere drifts in and out of focus with the cast's bludgeoningly rolled Hispanic Rs. The bride and her family are white... not white trash exactly, but poorer than the groom's folk. Having chosen to use such a device rather than fully integrating the casting, director Yvonne Brewster says nothing with it; it doesn't even seem a pointed un-statement.

Helen McCrory's Bride is a tangle of anguish: she knowingly runs off with her former lover after her wedding, but can truthfully say, "I didn't want to." After husband and lover have killed each other, the typically Lorquista outburst of keening women (rural Spain showing kinship with rural Ireland) ends with a gratuitous labour spasm from the lover's widow. Brewster strives for resonance, but neglects to supply solid surfaces for her production to reverberate against.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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