In this play, a young princess is besotted by a seemingly deranged prophet, but his rejections spurn her to a devastating final act in this minimalist, if overly simple, adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s religious tragedy. Durham based Kronos Productions have crafted a play that should be sultry and passionate, but instead suffers from being rather dry; it is, moreover, negatively affected by rather slow pacing and some hammy performances.
While all intents and purposes are good in this small-scale production, the performance lacked the bite and intensity that is so required of the play. The show advertises itself as ‘controversially relevant’, but only in Herod and his soldiers’ modern day military dress - that hint at recent invasions into foreign lands - are there any contemporary echoes. More needed to be said in order to make this performance creatively innovative.
Equally, the play could have done without the strange confusion in tone between sombre tragedy and occasional comedy, and required more imaginative direction; when Salome, who is played with some dexterity by Grace Cheatle, performs the dance of the seven veils before Herod, the traditional climax of the show, she did little more than walk up and down the stage waving a few rags.