Knife Crime Tragedy: Blood Wedding At Young Vic

Blood Wedding, Young Vic ★★★★☆

Knife Crime Tragedy: Blood Wedding At Young Vic Blood Wedding, Young Vic 4
Photo: Marc Brenner

Not long after London passed its 100th violent death of 2019 comes a brutal watch about the dangers of young men with knives. Blood Wedding is a pre-Spanish Civil War story transposed to Ireland in this production — but it might have been set on the streets of our city, or anywhere else that’s suffered from tribalism. A bride is caught between the sons of two feuding families in this Romeo & Juliet-esque tragedy, translated from Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1932 text.

Photo: Marc Brenner

Aoife Duffin gets into the wedding dress, to be fought over by the homely groom (David Walmsley) and dangerous Leonardo (Gavin Drea). But none has real agency. Each is at the mercy of their respective clans who set stock in gender conformism, filial loyalty, and hatred of the outsider. Moving the action to Ireland proves a thoughtful move, because it justifies an English-language rendition, and allows issues related to colonialism, displacement, and sectarian conflict to creep into the story.

Photo: Marc Brenner

Gypsy-music interludes come from Isobel Waller-Bridge (sister of Phoebe), and the show is equally evocative in look. Director Yaël Farber composes her scenes like paintings; main characters lit up dynamically while stooped, Goya-like villains lurk in shadows. Movement is at a maximum, although a harness used to suggest characters’ flights across the landscape could be deployed more acrobatically, given the trouble it takes to fumble around with it. The show is no stranger to unexpected laughs; Olwen Fouere bristles with sardonic prophesies about married life, in her role as the mother of the groom.

Blood Wedding, Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ. Tickets £10-£40, until 2 November 2019.

Last Updated 26 September 2019