sat 25/05/2024

Salome, Hampstead Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Salome, Hampstead Theatre

Salome, Hampstead Theatre

A contemporary slant on Oscar Wilde’s biblical fantasy fails to charm

Princess as chavette: Zawe Ashton in the title role of SalomeHelen Warner

The last time I saw Oscar Wilde’s biblical tale it was performed by dancer Lindsay Kemp at the Roundhouse in London, back in the 1970s, in a production that was high on dope, incense, strange vocal drawling - and which transported you very quickly to hippie heaven. Choked by clouds of fragrant perfume, weird in its singsong language and thrilling in its strangeness, this seemed like an ideal way of realising the crazy vision of this odd piece. But theatre is not about being faithful to fond memories, it’s about the constant restaging of classic plays, so this new version of Wilde’s 1892 play offers a welcome chance to reassess it.

The last time I saw Oscar Wilde’s biblical tale it was performed by dancer Lindsay Kemp at the Roundhouse in London, back in the 1970s, in a production that was high on dope, incense, strange vocal drawling - and which transported you very quickly to hippie heaven. Choked by clouds of fragrant perfume, weird in its singsong language and thrilling in its strangeness, this seemed like an ideal way of realising the crazy vision of this odd piece. But theatre is not about being faithful to fond memories, it’s about the constant restaging of classic plays, so this new version of Wilde’s 1892 play offers a welcome chance to reassess it.

This updated Salome comes at you shrouded in mist, with a thumping soundtrack and its pants right down at its ankles

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