Royal Shakespeare Company production of ‘Salomé’ to feature male lead


    The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced the cast for a new production of Salomé, which features a man in the lead role.

    Matthew Tennyson, whose past credits include Making Noise Quietly and the BBC One adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will play the title role in the production of Oscar Wilde’s one-act play.

    In Wilde’s play, Salomé is a powerful and enigmatic figure, both erotic and chaste. The prophet, Iokanaan rejects Salomé’s sexual advances, and when she is compelled to dance by her step-father Herod, Salomé is filled by lust-driven revenge and demands Iokanaan’s head as payment.

    The production marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexual sex in England and Wales.

    Owen Horsley will direct the show at The Swan Theatre. “Salomé as a figure continues to fascinate and provoke audiences to this day,” Horsley says. “This production will paint the play afresh by casting a male actor – Matthew Tennyson – in the title role, a part that is usually played by a female actor.

    “This portrayal will explore the ambiguity of gender and sexuality, and the anger, anxiety, mystery and chaos it can cause in the world.

    “Some say this play mirrors Wilde’s own experience and desires as a gay man,” Horsley continues. “It seems interesting and timely on the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality to view this play through a gay lens.”

    The production will use the music of queer artist Perfume Genius. Material from his album, Too Bright, will be performed live by the RSC band.

    Casting also includes: Andro Cowperthwaite (Page of Herodias), Suzanne Burden (Herodias), Ilan Evans (Naaman/Singer), Bally Gill (Jew), Robert Ginty (Soldier), Ben Hall (Soldier), Christopher Middleton (Nazarene), Miles Mitchell (Soldier), Byron Mondahl (Nazarene), Matthew Pidgeon (Herod), Jon Trenchard (Jew), Johnson Willis (Tigellinus), Simon Yadoo (Jew) and Assad Zaman (Young Syrian).

    Salomé will be at The Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon from June 2. Get tickets here.

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    Watch the trailer below: