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by on 29 June 2020

Salacious Undertones Mined


 by Oscar Wilde

Teddington Theatre Club, zoomed until 28th June, then on-line on YouTube.

Reviewed by Nick Swyft

Salome, the story of a man who is prepared to give anything to have his step-daughter dance for him is one that has inspired, and continues to inspire, artists throughout the centuries.  And why not?  It is a mine of those salacious undertones that we all love.


Wilde originally wrote this play in French because English law forbade the depiction of biblical characters on stage, although this was probably more down to the nature of the tale than anything else.  The French were not so fussy.   Still to a modern, perhaps more jaded, audience Salome now seems a little staid.  So Herod wanted his stepdaughter to dance for him.  She was a grown woman and she’s fair game.  One might be puzzled as to why he would have given way to her incendiary demand for the head of Jokanaan (played convincingly by Dave Brickwood).

Salome Clive Barda

In this production Herod (Peter Hill) is portrayed as a feeble minded fop, which was credible but unsatisfactory.  Perhaps playing more on his ‘illicit’ desire for his young step-daughter would have worked better.

Both Herodias (Juanita Dahhan) and Salome (Mia Skytte-Jensen) came across well as high-born women whose egos had been badly bruised by Jokanaan.  In particular Mia Skytte-Jensen was a very alluring Salome in the end.  Her yawning earlier on might have been due to a heavy day finished by a few glasses of wine, but could equally be ascribed to her boredom with Herod’s constant demands for her to dance for him.

The Zoom production worked well since you do not need a lot of stage action for this play, although the technology was a little problematic.  A background was provided for each actor of a full moon in a dark sky.  The play made much of the influence of the moon, but its image here was a little ordinary.  Perhaps a ‘blood moon’ would have worked better.  Inexplicably, not all the cast made use of this background; although Salome could get away with a lamp-lit room, Herodias’ Velux blind detracted from the atmosphere.

Nick Swyft


Photography by Aubrey Beardsley, Clive Barda and Teddington Theatre Club

Salome may be seen on YouTube as part of Wilde Weekend (at 6hrs 49 mins)


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