The hubbub of the audience slowly receded to reveal the soft melodies of Ben Cox and Oscar Reeve whose mellow rendition of “Teenage Dirtbag” and “Winter Winds” at their “Bus-K stop” created an atmosphere of quiet anticipation. However, even Hetty Cunningham’s harsh and sombre exposition of the tale to come was no preparation for the cataclysmic shrieks of Georgia Lord’s entrance. The scarlet woman clad in crimson dress seethed with a violent femininity which produced a comic contrast with George Collecot’s masterfully nervous characterisation. Lord’s youthful battleaxe met Angus McConnell-Wood’s grey hair and stoic patience with similar effects to produce a marriage from which even Dante would have shied. It was only Gabi Hill as “The Mother” who seemed able to tame the juggernaught of childish angst with her own brand of matriarchal volume producing a character which belied her years.

The play, translated from Federico Garcia Lorca’s Spanish piece, saw the shoemaker’s wife (Georgia Lord) successfully navigate her way through the various business-like propositions of adultery from the mercilessly pragmatic Mark Sadler as “the mayor”, past the romantic monotone of Will Slynn (Don Mirlo) and over the advances of the suspiciously Italian Henry Crinage whose character had rather more of the mafia boss in it than the doting suitor. Just when it seemed as if the curtain would fall with the shoemaker’s wife still untamed, the dubiously skilful hip gyrations of James Gall and Luke Chitty’s autre moderne limb-pumping along with Katie Batchelor and Max Adorian stole the show and placed the marital tiff in a proper perspective. But the real praise must go to Emma Collier and Barnaby Findlay for their directing of what was a comic, punchy (occasionally literally) and enthralling play.

An additional review will follow.

Adam Van Schaik
(LVI, East)