Blood of the Lamb is showing at The Front Room at the Assembly Rooms and attempts to shine a light on the impact of the Supreme Court overturning the legislation that legalised abortion. Nessa finds herself in Texas and subject to the change in law and legislation. The show contains distressing content and this review will allude to that.
Blood of the Lamb begins with Nessa and Val sitting in what we find out to be a room at the airport with Nessa believing that Val is a doctor when, in fact, Val is a lawyer representing the rights of the unborn baby that Nessa is carrying, a baby who has sadly passed away.
The show attempts to communicate the ludicrousness of the situation and points out more than once that the life of the mother is at risk. This show should be emotionally moving and devastating but the execution is poor and requires some clear fine tuning. Arlene Hutton’s writing itself is not bad and the main details are covered however it is repetitive at times and the characterisation leaves much to be desired, with Val appearing almost sociopathic and unhinged with a complete lack of humility at the beginning which only gets worse as the play progresses. Although this could well be the intention, it left me uncomfortable and not in the way that it should. It became hard to watch for all the wrong reasons.
Dana Brooke’s Nessa oscillated between quiet and shocked, and then raw pleading, and there was little in between. Val is so selfish and unlikeable that she pulls attention away from Nessa and it is clear Elisabeth Nunziato has the necessary acting chops with good projection.
Brooke is better at her positioning and attempted connection with the audience. This production has fatal flaws that should be corrected for future if there is to be any greater chance at success in conveying such an important issue. Namely, that the actor’s back should never be to the audience, nor should the actor block themselves from the audience. This is something Lyndsay Burch can tighten up for future. There’s also an overreliance on one sided phone conversations which not only causes pacing issues but impacts the audience immersion.
Overall, Blood of the Lamb attempts to hit the audience hard but ultimately does disservice to the issue at hand and those affected by it by seemingly stretching on in malaise until an ending that just stops. It is incomplete, unfinished and needs further work in the rehearsal room.