reviewed by Paula Citron
Rocking the Cradle
Tarragon Theatre/RCA Theatre Company
Written by Des Walsh
Directed by Richard Rose
Starring Ruth Lawrence, Darryl Avalon Hopkins, Jane Dingle, Didi Gillard-Rowlings, Greg King, Monica Walsh And Kate Corbett
At Tarragon Theatre until Dec. 13
Newfoundland playwright Des Walsh has gone back to Federico García Lorca’s 1934 masterpiece Yerma as inspiration for his new play Rocking the Cradle.
Rural Spain transposes very well into outport Newfoundland, as a barren woman longs for a child. “Yerma” in fact, means “barren” in Spanish, and Walsh’s play traces the disintegration of the marriage of the loving couple Joan and Vince, as the husband resists having children. A barren woman in a small community lives in a pressure cooker.
Walsh’s weakness is in the vague motivation of Vince, but his female characters are well drawn, particularly Ruth’s no-nonsense mother Helen. Unfortunately, the lead acting is uneven. Ruth Lawrence is not the strong Joan needed to match Vince’s growing, if bewildering, malaise which Darryl Avalon Hopkins plays on one note.
That being said, Graeme Thomson’s imaginative set design is both brilliantly claustrophobic and atmospheric, while Richard Rose has directed with finely wrought detail.
Rocking the Cradle continues at Tarragon Theatre until Dec. 13.