THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA
by Frederico Garcia Lorca.
The Cervantes Theatre, Arch 26, 229 Union Street, London SE1 0LR to 9 December 2017.
In Spanish Mon – Wed 7.30pm Mat Wed 2.30pm.
In English Thu-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 3633 4406.
Review: William Russell 2 November.
Spanish cats on a hot tin roof
A powerful performance by Mary Conlon, surface steel and inner rage in the title role, and a strong supporting cast as her sexually frustrated daughters make this latest revival of Lorca’s celebrated play well worth seeing. I saw the English language cast Spanish not being a language I know, but if it is as good then this is a first rate evening of theatre and, the director being the same – Jorge de Juan – there is every reason to expect it is.
Bernarda, a wealthy widow, following the death of her second husband, has decreed there will be a lengthy period of mourning and her daughters are virtually incarcerated in her home. The daughter from her
first marriage, 39 year old Angustias, not covered by this decree, is to be married to Pepe el Romano, whom we never see. He is after her money and is wooing the youngest daughter Adela. Bernarda, a snob, rules her daughters’ existence in an almost convent like world where the town church bells mark the sermons of the day, defining the social climate of the town, while the stallion imprisoned in the stable, which goes berserk with lust for the mares in the paddock, underlines the tensions among the daughters.
Mary Conlon as Bernarda, statuesque and severe, holds it all together. Moir Leslie, the housekeeper, Poncia, is splendid as the voice of common sense warning Bernarda about the havoc she is creating; there is a lovely scatty performance from Gilly Daniels as the demented grandmother Maria Josefa, not so crazy as not to know what her daughter is doing; and the actresses playing the daughters, trapped behind their sewing machines, doing genteel tasks and squabbling – there are servants to toil – are an impeccable ensemble.
Bernarda: Mary Conlon.
Maria Josefa: Gilly Daniels.
Adela: Maite Jauregui.
Amelia: Pia Laborde.
Magdalena: Candela Gomez.
Angustias: Joanna Kate Rodgers.
Martiro: Beth Smith.Poncia: Moir Leslie.
Criada: Jimena Larraguivel.
Prudencia: Carolina Herran.
In the Spanishg version Judith Arkwright is Maria Josefa; Amparo Climent is Bernarda; Teresa Cendon is Angustias, Lucia Espin is Martiro and Mayca Estevez is Poncia.
Director: Jorge de Juan.
Translator: Carmen Zapata & Michael Dewell.
Costume Designer: Isabel de Moral.
Set Designer: Angel Haro.
Lighting Designer: Jonathan Jewett.
Music: Javier “Peke” Rodriguez.