This is sensational theatre – electrifying – and the modern staging is as if we were watching a catwalk fashion show. The show made for a truly joyous memorable event. This is high drama vibrantly told with such conviction by the actors, pulsating with an energy that was elegant, and the actual absurdity of it, and the dark humour, made it very watchable.
Cut down to a running time of some 75 minutes this streamlined version is just fabulous by Ricky Dukes who has without a doubt understood and captured the essence of Wilde’s work totally creating the sexual tension that as a theme runs through the play.
With new staging and audience configuration, in traverse; all of the cast are new except Jamie O’Neill who is playing Herod again. The Dance of the Seven Veils is now a ‘gay fantasia’ rather than a simple striptease. The theme is gold, everything is gold, and the producers here clearly have the Midas touch.
The synergy of the actors – especially Prince Plockey as Jokanaan (John the Baptist), Fred Thomas as Salomé and the previously mentioned O’Neill as Herod – shine giving tour de force performances. Their individual speeches showcase the poetry of Wilde’s mastery of the English language where he, perhaps at the time of writing it, debates the misuse of power, manipulation, arrogance, sexual frustration, desire and paranoia and the commitment to carry out a dastardly deed to get what you want.
This show is marvellously moody and of course the homoeroticism is deliberate. Salomé brings the scriptures to life with a passion that enthrals and where Wilde has exploited the very powerful tool of metaphor and symbolism. Dukes has made this integral to this production. Very sexy theatre.