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There are some famous last words in Federico García Lorca’s poetic, symbolic tragedy. ‘What could go wrong?’ said by a happy, soon-to-be bridegroom, is one particular corker.
The answer is: pretty much everything. Set in dusty Spanish farming land, Lorca’s beautiful but gut-wrenchingly sad story tells of a young woman who marries a wealthy, nice suitor, in a disastrous attempt to banish her passionate feelings for her first love.
There are moments when Hiraeth theatre company brings Lorca’s haunting language to the fore perfectly. In the wedding preparation scenes we see a girl desperate to stake her hopeless claim at happiness. Maya Thomas’s Bride is glowing with relief among her chattering, laughing friends, but you can see there’s a shadow in her heart.
On the whole, though, it’s pretty patchy stuff that suffers from a nasty bout of over-the-top syndrome. The production catapults wholeheartedly into a lot of wailing and hefty emotion with far too much crying, flinching and wide-eyed yearning. The famously surreal last act where the moon comes down from the sky and Death puts in an appearance starts out well, using music, drums and rhythm to ratchet up the tension. But melodrama takes over when Abigail Unwin-Smith’s moaning, overegged Death starts talking.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell