By Andrew Andrews

Salome (Laura Butler Rivera) dances for Herod Antipas (Marty Keiser) despite the disapproval of her mother, Herodias (Lisa Tharps). Original photo by Eileen Meny Photography.

When you walk into the theater and see the actors frozen on the sparse, metallic, futuristic set, you might think you’re at the wrong show.

After all, the story of Salomé is one of the oldest stories we know. Set in ancient times... biblical times.

And those costumes: dystopian, otherworldly. Is this Mad Max?

And the lighting: is that a solar eclipse? Maybe as seen from a another planet?

Then the scene begins, and the Cappadocian appears, swinging a dangling lamp over the bodies of the slain—or perhaps sleeping—soldiers, and they come to life, and the story unfolds.

You understand that yes, this is an old story, and these are ancient times.

And you are in for the story of Salomé as it has never been told before.

Freshly translated and directed by James Rutherford, M-34’s production paints Herod and his family as the most eloquent—and perverse—family in Judea. Starring Laura Butler Rivera in the title role, with Lisa Tharps and Marty Keiser as her mother and adopted father, Rutherford’s performance finally legitimizes Oscar Wilde’s bastard child of a play: full of larger-than-life characters, flowering dialogue and a mood so engorged with lust that it all but explodes from the stage to shower the unsuspecting audience.

Choreographed by Jess Goldschmidt to interactively integrate Wladimiro A. Wayno R.’s projections, Salomé’s modern Dance of the Seven Veils injects a forceful barrage of fury into the world’s first striptease.

With phenomenal support from Alexander Reed, Jing Xu and Feathers Wise as the "white as a lily from a wild virgin field" Iokanaan—not to mention a dozen minor characters!—Rutherford’s vision of Wilde’s dramatization of Herod’s dysfunctional family makes the most of its limited production budget and delivers a best-in-class live theatre experience.

So check it out, then come back here and let us know what you thought of the whole shebang!

Whether or not you agree that M-34 perfectly delivers Wilde’s emulsion of wit, elocution and melodrama, your reviews can help others decide whether Salomé is worth their time, and your ratings help us help you find future events you’re sure to love!


Andrew Andrews attended Salomé at Irondale Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 @ 8:00pm to write this review.