Oscar’s Eleven’s production of Salomé is a musical by Richard and Thomas Allain, based on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name. The play was written in 1891 but not staged until 1896.
The one act piece tells the story of Jokanaan, the imprisoned prophet, and Salomé, daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of Herod, the Tetrarch of Judea and Herodias’ second husband. Salomé falls in love with Jokanaan but he refuses and despises her – causing her to nurse a growing hate for him. When she gets a wish granted for dancing for her stepfather – who is entranced by her – she takes the chance, and asks for Jokanaan’s head on a silver plate as her one and only desire. Herod struggles severely with this wish as he fears and secretly honours the prophet.
Staging this tragedy as a musical could be seen as somewhat controversial – then again, Oscar Wilde would maybe have liked it. The music doesn’t make it quite clear though if it is meant to be performed as a tragedy or a comedy, as sad and comical songs form a sequence without really going hand in hand. The singing voices on stage are clear and strong, but much of the sound is distorted which makes it hard to follow the story line. Some unnecessary probs and costumes add to the scattered impression this musical leaves on the audience’s mind.
Oscar’s Eleven face a hard task in putting on Salomé with a young cast and the need to use a lot of technical equipment whilst trying to do it’s biblical and classical theatre background justice. The stage is set up well; lighting creates very imaginative effects and is well tied into the performance. Yes as a whole it doesn’t seem completely round and conclusive.
Salomé by Oscar’s Eleven is on at The Space at Surgeon’s Hall 5th to 10th August at 10:30pm