"Good intention but tiresome production"
by Alex Malgua for remotegoat on 25/07/09

Metta Theatre's personal version of Blood Wedding simply disappointed me. Not only it failed to interest me throughout its duration, it eventually left me puzzled and somehow quite annoyed. Little to do with the fact it's arguably a weak production with an uninspiring direction, a lazy music composition and (deliberately?) cheap, if not tacky, designs. Although important, these seem to be, in this case, quite secondary. My main objection to Poppy Burton-Morgan's latest effort is her deliberate choice to neglect the complex nature of the original play over a good intention to talk about knife crimes.

Written in 1932 by poet and dramatist Federico Garcìa Lorca, Blood Wedding depicts the wedding day of a groom and his bride whose illegitimate passion for another man turns this day of village's celebration into a tragic manhunt. In her modernized take on Lorca's second part of his unfinished trilogy, Burton-Morgan mixes the original plot with references to youth's knife crimes in contemporary London. By doing so, she neither does the play, its central themes and surreal poetry any justice nor succeeds in addressing this current social issue.
Therefore I was served with a messy piece of theatre where everything seemed forced, unprepared and gawky from start to finish. Its first half relies heavily on the use of audience participation and, while supposedly recreating the atmosphere of the wedding party, it can only compete with an extravagant parody of a Mama Mia sing-along group scene. As its delivery is stripped down to more traditional acting and a simpler structure, the second half flows better, offering the characters a few opportunities to convey the tragic feelings of passion, hatred and obsessive revenge that Lorca depicts through symbolic images. Unfortunately, these rare moments are too little too late in the piece to save Blood Wedding from being a missed adaptation whose potential is constantly overshadowed by an inappropriate fusion of Burton-Morgan's additional writing with Lorca's original script and a sketchy use of jaggedly performed singing in between.

Judging by the warm reaction of last night's audience, Metta Theatre's new offering will certainly satisfy theatre goers partly thanks to the summer party's feel of its opening. But, I'm not convinced it will leave them with a better awareness of the serious damages knife crimes can cause, if it were Burton-Morgan's intention. And so, to me it raises a potential question about what makes an update of classic theatre to our modern times so relevant today.

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