Thursday, 3 May 2018

“Salome” by Oscar Wilde
Nottingham New Theatre
One of Oscar Wilde’s little performed dark tragedies which was first banned in England.
The play tells in one act the Biblical story of Salome, stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the dance of the seven veils and as revenge on Jokanaan for his rejection of Salome’s sexual advances.
This is one play that I'd read before seeing the play. I loved the script but to see the play brought to life was a treat for me. I can honestly say that the 90 minutes the play took to perform was the quickest hour and a half I've spent in a theatre; I was engrossed.
Directed by Amy Crighton, she has kept the original feel of the play but also adds a modern feel with the dancing and the musical sections.
Maggie Dorling played Salome, and flicked from being almost trance like in her repeat of want she wanted from her stepfather to being passionate in her final monologue.
Francis Simmons played the dual role of Jokanaan as well as Herod - Salome's stepfather. Once more a passionate performance as he pleads with Salome to change her mind, and sheer horror as her wish is completed and her reactions.
Emily Sterling plays Salome's mother and Herod's husband. At first the role comes across as comic but then the reality of her backing her daughter in her requests is quite alarming.
These three spearhead what is a very talented cast of eleven.
The technical crew total sixteen so I'll just mention a few, and apologies for the rest who did just as brilliant a job as these few.
Rose Edgeworth who produced the play, Sam Osborne whose lighting design helped guide the action and created that atmosphere. Darcey Graham's sound design, again creating the mood of the play. A lot of work has gone into the sound design in this play especially with the sourcing of the appropriate songs.
The costumes - Annabel Smith - were a mix of styles which worked really well with the modern feel as well as being era appropriate.
With the NNT, a lot of thought goes into the sets, and no change in this one. Long drapes and simple seating for Herod's home gave a feel of simple but comfortable surroundings.
I mentioned that there were dance breaks and these were choreographed by Charlotte Sanders, Ellie Roberts and Georgina Pittman.
Part of the modern feel came from the Video Design screened on to the drapes. Subtle but a nice touch and designed by Ted Marriott.
Having read many of Wilde's plays, and being a fan of his wit, this play is a nice change from the comedy in his other plays, and I was so pleased that NNT decided to choose this one to perform, plus it's another one ticked off the list of plays I'd not seen before.
“Salome” is at the Nottingham New Theatre until Saturday 5 May 2018

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