The works of Oscar Wilde have been examined, dissected, reimagined and scrutinised almost to the same level as Shakespeare. It’s often clear that when he is making an observation or comment on social issues his plays also can offer an insight to him as a man and with Salome this is indeed the case.
In this marvellous, riveting ‘no holds barred’ production of Salome at the Greenwich Theatre, the action is now set in 2019. The cast, notably Jamie O’Neill as Herod, Bailey Pilbeam as Salome and a magnificent Jamal Renaldo, playing Jokanaan (John the Baptist) are totally immersed in their respective roles. Their passionate and articulate delivery using body gestures as well as words made for a two hour sensual experience that is powerful and provocative.
The production directed by Ricky Dukes, who also designed this superb version is packed with sexual tension giving it a peep show quality. Dukes examines issues of retribution, betrayal and the dangerous power of attraction whilst weaving in references to contemporary culture including our reactions to ‘fake news’. The splendid ensemble cast bounce of each other and where references are made to the biblical story, they inform and delight. There is a glorious camp and enigmatic feel to this lesson in lust from Wilde. This is another groundbreaking production from the Lazarus Theatre company who continue to make their impressive mark.