Anne Critchley

Peribanez at the Young Vic

This Spanish play is a rich mix of characters, music, emotions and politics that carries you along rather like a Chinese fire-cracker, exploding unexpectedly both to your delight and consternation.

It begins conventionally enouugh with a peasant wedding. In the midst of the celebrations the commander of Ocana arrives, badly wounded in an accident. He is tended by the guests and in his dazed state falls madly in love with the bride, Casilda. This obsession leads to his ultimate humiliation and ridicule. For Peribanez the groom, an honorable man, it is the beginning of his suffering as his duty to 'the Commander' and his need to avenge his wife's honour collide with dark and unexpected ways.

This play was written over 400 years ago by Lope de Vega, whom it is believed wrote over 800 plays and was composing verse before he was five! He had an extraordinary life being in turn a poet, sailor, an Inquisitor and a priest. He was twice married and brought up four children on his own. In betweeen he wrote his plays. 'Peribanez' reflects Lope de Vega's diverse experiences and love of the peasnatry. Is it a comedy, a tragedy, a love story, an analysis of the class system? It is all these things and is acted superbly throughout. Go, see and enjoy.

Young Vic website

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