Salome, by Oscar Wilde
A Theatre Lab Company production
Hoxton Hall until 11 February, 2017.
70 minutes, without interval.
Review: Tom Aitken 2 February
A quirky pice, a rarely performed piece, worth a visit.
Let me begin by saying that this production is well worth seeing and has a number of interesting features. As the credits indicate it has a mixed-nationality cast and production team; a 21st Centure production of a 19th Century play.
The venue, Hoxton Hall, is itself a place of interest, one of those 19th century community centre buildings in the East End that have been rescued from decay and put to something like their original use. (Not, of course, that there would have been much chance of this play being performed there at the beginning of the last century. It’s too seriously and frankly improper for that.)
The play is staged in part on the stage itself, in part around and on a sumptuous banqueting table which occupies most of what would otherwise have been the stalls. This arrangement creates some difficulties, not all of which are solved. However, Anastasia Revi’s production is clear and straight-forward and the acting is competent and enthusiastically involved in the world of the play.
But, in a space which might have been designed in such a way as to allow different levels of sound to hold an audience’s attention, the production does tend towards fairly uniform loudness.
Some of this, of course, is very effective. Iokanaan (John the Baptist) erupts into view from a corner of the balcony, denouncing the complicated moral offences which he detects in the court. There is some effective use of music and some (perhaps not quite enough) effective use of silence.
But I would have liked there to have been more moments of silence in which relationships were conveyed other than simply by speaking the script.
I can see that this is asking rather a lot when the production is being presented to an audience that is mostly spread two or three deep under long and fairly low balconies.
Nevertheless, this is a rarely performed play that anyone fancying themselves as serious theatregoers should see at least once.
Salome: Denise Moreno King Herod: Konstantinos Kavakiotis Queen Herodias: Helen Bang Iokanaan: Matthew Wade Man of the Palace: Tobias Deacon Young Syrian: Benoit Gouttenoire Moon: Annabelle Brown
Director: Anastasia Revi Music: Annabelle Brown Costumes: Valentina Sanna Lighting: Yiannis Katsaris