It's the eve of Rosa's wedding and the augurs are not good. There's blood in the goat's milk and the wine has been stolen, eggcup by eggcup, from a richer neighbour. Sure enough, before a drop has been drunk in toast to the nuptials, a menacing uninvited guest shows up and the wedding banquet has been swept away in the horrifying torrents of war. Having had everything snatched away from them – including Rosa's betrothed – the bride and her sister Beatriz are left with a strange, silent little girl who may or may not have miraculous or evil powers. Beatriz resolves to reunite her with her father and so begins a 1,000-mile odyssey across 19th-century Spain and, less specifically, through the history of man's inhumanity to man.
Zinnie Harris's new play for the National Theatre of Scotland, a strange, spiritual fable rich – perhaps too rich – in allegory, builds up a nice sense of dread and menace. And Vicky Featherstone's production is full of brooding fire and brimstone. But it's a little unevenly acted, particularly in the supporting roles, and somehow adds up to less than it promises. Intriguing, nonetheless.
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