In 1928, in Nijar in the Spanish province of Almeria, Francisco Montes Canada was shot dead after fleeing a wedding with the prospective bride, his cousin Francisca. The murder was carried out by the groom’s brother and this grisly matrimonial tragedy was duly reported in the Heraldo de Madrid newspaper, where it was spotted by Federico García Lorca and formed the basis of his celebrated play, combining social commentary with epic drama and vivid, soaring lyrics. Unfortunately, an uneven production at the Waterloo East struggles to do the same.
In defence of the cast, Blood Wedding is not without its challenges. It perversely buries the natural climax in abstraction (here rendered almost incomprehensible), voices ideas and emotions that might sit more comfortably in the subtext and gives several characters a heavy expositional load. Of course, Lorca is not the only playwright to fast-track love affairs, reel off reams of family history and hammer home key themes, and when actors can combine convincing emotion with an understanding of his poetic intent, the effect is indisputably powerful.