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June 5, 2010 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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Salomé

Salomé is an Oscar Wilde play bit it’s not an Oscar Wilde play. That is to say that it is not what you expect and Oscar Wilde play to be. Rather than a stately and witty satirical romp around social rituals full of finely honed epigrams and put upon butlers, it is a one act symbolist exploration of the story of Salomé who so famously danced for the head of John the Baptist.

Anna Kamaralli has directed it at 77 Fairlie Tce using the students of THEA 301 – Company as her cast (the work towards this production forming the severe majority of their course-load) and the students of THEA 324 – Scenography as her crew and designers. It is a bold choice of play and one that results in a bold production.

The studio in 77FT has been decadently filled with a sumptuous and epic set of long walkways and twisting netted columns. This set designed by Jen Eccles, Sophie Hanover and Jane Wenley is very well conceived and extremely well produced. However, multiple sight line issues for anyone not sitting in front row of the traverse somewhat degild this lily. The lighting by Sam Steeds and Kattral Lee is wonderfully colourful and compliments the overall design very well but the frequently loss of actors faces to shadow annoyed this audience member (maybe I was just sitting in the wrong place?). The costumes by Sophie Sargent, Katherine Jennings, Daniel Emms and Stella Reid are real nice too. The A/V by Jess Robieson and Cassandra Philp, sound design by Kattral Lee and Srini Twigley and music by Theo Taylor and Holly Antonsen are all almost without flaw and more than up to a professional standard.

The cast all do perfectly fine jobs but special mentions must go to Stella Reid’s wonderfully meek Young Syrian and to Theo Taylor and Danni Taylor for their Soldiers who amused throughout.

The boldest move made by this production is the addition of a prologue. This works very much to evoke and interrogate the similarities between Salomé and the Hebrew Song of Songs. It seems sure to divide audiences (and that is hardly ever a bad thing) with its poetical language and abstracted choreography. Personally it rang a trifle too pretentious for my taste and that somewhat rings true for the whole of the show. This production of Salomé seems unwilling to really open up to its audience and share its sources and secrets, it feels like it is a few too many steps ahead of you and is unwilling to let you catch up.

To call Salomé a mixed bag is to give the impression that the good and the bad balance out. This isn’t true. There is a large weight of good in this show, it’s just some hard to catch sight of.

Salomé
presented by the students of THEA 301 & 324
wri. Oscar Wilde
dir. Anna Kamaralli
perf. Alana Henderson, Josh McDonald, Blair Everson, Holly Antonsen, Joe Waymouth, Rachelle
Fons, Brooke Charles, Luwita Hana Randhawa, Sophie Sargent, Cherie Le Quesne, Danni Taylor, Emma Eglinton, Theo Taylor, Stella Reid, Susie Berry, Annemieke Dabb, Daniel Emms and Katherine Jennings

at 77 Fairlie Tce, 7.30pm, 1 – 5 June 2010
book by emailing theatre@vuw.ac.nz

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

Comments (4)

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  1. Emily Post says:

    Haha – “the dead of John the Baptist”.

    I think it’s worth mentioning the impressive fight scene choreographed by Theo Taylor and Josh McDonald. Definitely on par with the stuff I’ve seen by Allan Henry, who receives much [deserved] critical acclaim. Great job, guys.

    I also thought the camp, flimsy Herod worked well.

  2. Freya says:

    I think that the guy who played King Herod (sorry, I’ve forgotten his name), deserves a mention too. His camp and juvenile king was delicious to watch. He was just the right amount of creepy. Plus, his entrance and command of the stage breathed some timely energy into the play that, without him, may have been in danger of sagging.

    I agree, though, that Stella, Theo and Danni were fantastic also. I can’t help but wonder if Danni was channelling David Walliams, by any chance? If so, what a great choice.

    Neat.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed almost all of the play, and the choice of prologue from the song of songs was great; good performances, good movement, nice distracting green triangle on Herod’s crotch… everything was good, except the horrible racist-stereotype jewish priests. They were just embarrassing. Were you trying to audition for a gig in the next Mel Gibson epic? It was sad the director ruined an otherwise great job by making such a stupid call on that one bit.

  4. Susie Berry says:

    The costumes are real nice? Good one

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