“Whatever you say,” says Ricci McLeod's lovestruck groom Edward to his disapproving mother Agnes on the eve of his big flash wedding to his sweetheart Olivia in David Ireland's soap opera style reboot of Federico Garcia Lorca's classic tragedy, “say nothing.” Edward's advice to Agnes is all too telling in Jenny Sealey's slow-burning production, a collaboration between Dundee Rep, Derby Theatre and the Sealey-led Graeae company. Edward's old mum Agnes, after all, is deaf, dependent on her boy to help her communicate with the world and deeply jealous of Olivia, though not necessarily in that order.
The fact that in their tight-knit city neighbourhood, Olivia, and pretty much everyone else, is connected to the gangster who shot dead Agnes' husband and her other son probably has something to do with it too. Oh, and she's disabled. As for Olivia, she has other fish to fry in the shape of her irrepressible ex, Lee.
With surtitles beamed onto Lisa Sangster's broken brick wall of a set, actors audio-describing the action into microphones and a signer joining in the action, neither actors disabilities are in no way ignored in Ireland's script. Instead, as the bride's father flails after politically correct terms or else bellows slowly into Agnes' face, they become elaborately realised and at times self-deprecating devices that become integral to the production's style.
Ireland, Sealey and a cast of nine do all this while remaining remarkable faithful to Lorca's original narrative, only with extra lashings of black humour. As Olivia, Amy Conachan becomes the pivot on which an entire community is ripped asunder with everyday prejudices still intact in this driest of dissections of the body politic.
The Herald, March 10th 2015