On a stormy day where thunder masks the sound of the bombs falling outside, the Cro-Magnons host the only wedding for 200 miles. But with a narcoleptic bride and an illusive European fiancé, the chance of it taking place seems more and more unlikely as the day goes on. Charlotte Marshall was in the first night audience of the comedy Wedding Day At The Cro-Magnons to find out who survives the fallout.
Set in war torn Lebanon, the Cro-Magnons take the role of the dysfunctional family, but with snipers and buses on fire outside their home, emotions are pushed to the edge as they try to exist in a world where believing in fairies is put in the same sentence as believing in ice-cream.
As the family rush round preparing a wedding feast and talking of their daughter’s too good to be true European beau, chaos ensues as their plans rapidly unravel with a sheep that won’t die, rotten potatoes and an over excited and jealous neighbour who is quickly losing all hope of finding a husband.
At the centre of the family is Neel, the youngest son who obsessively identifies the sounds of weapons outside the balcony windows. Vulgar and aggressive, he tramps around the house the clichéd teenager, before suddenly switching to the mindset of a little boy as he cowers in the corner frightened of the world he has found himself born into. Heads of the household Nazha and Neyif also have split personalities, as they verbally abuse each other with pure detest, before discovering their passion for one another again when they realise they can still feel emotion even with the backdrop of war. The bride to be, Nelly, has an other worldly presence as she falls in and out of consciousness and the audience is left wondering if her seemingly warped sense of reality is not in fact more real than the other Cro-Magnons’ version.
Wajdi Mouawad’s play deals with the anger and bitterness lying beneath the surface of everyday life for people living in such an unpredictable environment. With comic performances, strong language and compelling characters, Wedding Day At The Cro Magnons takes you on a strange journey into the fantasies the family create.
Wedding Day At The Cro-Magnons plays until 19 April at the Soho Theatre.