The House of Bernarda Alba

BY FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA
19 March 2003 — 19 April 2003

“Auriol Smith’s compelling production.” The Evening Standard

“I have never seen a revival of The House of Bernarda Alba in which the atmosphere of fear and loathing was so palpable. At the Orange Tree in Richmond the hatred emanating from the stage hits you with the ferocity of a southern Spanish heatwave… Director Auriol Smith, who has produced an acid-tongued new translation with Rebecca Morahan, handles the tragic collision between crushing smalltown imperatives and absolute biological needs with a remarkable attention to suffocating detail… As much is said here by what flickers across the women’s eyes as what passes their lips – acting of the highest order.” The Daily Telegraph

“Auriol Smith's production turns out to be thoroughly gripping. It draws you into the claustrophobic world that Lorca created, and keeps you there.” The Sunday Telegraph

“The in-the-round intimacy of the Orange Tree perfectly suggests the inner sanctum of a typical Andalusian dwelling, complete with courtyard, lace-draped balcony and arches, here neatly realised by Julie Nelson’s clever design.” The Evening Standard

“Rowena Cooper is excellent as the servant who provides a bridge between mother and daughters, and Paula Stockbridge suggests that the quietly desperate Angustias knows a truth that she will not admit. But it is Farleigh’s evening as she roars like a caged tiger, mad and very, very sad.” The Guardian

“Auriol Smith’s gripping production benefits from two powerfully truthful performances. Lynn Farleigh’s straight-backed Bernarda wields her silver-topped cane as an instrument of will-power and swift punishment, a figure of triumphant tyranny, delivering fierce diktats with relish; while as her emotional opposite, Rowena Cooper in the performance of the evening (and perhaps of her career) is the robust Poncia, earthly and outspoken, angry at a life spent in service, her expressive forefinger stabbing the air with bitter emphasis.” What’s On Stage

“Auriol Smith’s powerful production of Federico García Lorca’s final play is ideal material for the claustrophobic confines of the Orange Tree’s theatre in-the-round and is superbly set by Julie Nelson’s spare design… All the performances are uniformly terrific… Another triumph for Sam Walters’ little gem of a producing house. I can’t recommend it too highly.” What’s on Stage