3 Min Read

A Unique Fusion: Salome

Salome (Delta) presented by Squid Vicious is an amalgamation of stories, thoughts and experiences from its makers Joe Lui, Olivia Hendry, Andrew Sutherland and Briannah Davis which are melded with texts including Salome by Oscar Wilde, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS as Metaphor by Susan Sontag and A Choreographer’s Handbook by Jonathan Burrows.

Andrew Sutherland is the primary speaker in the piece and is joined on stage by his dancing counterpart Olivia Hendry. The performers are tied together by a long piece of fabric that is sewn into the back of their corsets, almost like an umbilical cord. In the show’s opening Olivia spins and moves around Andrew as he speaks in a trance-like manner, impressively holding open arms above his head for several minutes before breaking to give us “a moment of clarity.”

Andrew Sutherland and Olivia Hendry in Salome (Delta)

Andrew’s words jump like racing thoughts from one topic to another. Similar themes, stories and thoughts pop in and out throughout the piece, so you start to form almost a complete picture of each story or experience by the end. These fleeting thoughts are incredibly personal and delve into serious topics; delivering some quite profound moments that provide new perspectives to look at these issues with.

Although these topics are dived into headfirst, the team has found a good balance of light and dark. The swift movement of the text certainly helps with pushing past the more intense parts, but comedic moments are also well placed throughout.

Over the 55-minutes they’re on stage, Olivia and Andrew show great range as performers. Their energy never dips, showing admirable stamina and strength as they navigate the show’s demanding pace. Olivia’s dancing is beautifully fluid, creating a great juxtaposition to Andrew’s limited yet striking movements. 

Olivia Hendry in Salome (Delta)

Behind the performers hangs a screen that projects images reflecting the words being spoken, in both direct and indirect ways. It adds to the personal nature of the performance, particularly in one section as we watch over someone’s laptop screen as they scroll through endless web tabs of both intriguing and concerning articles. Jo Cassandra Lui’s sound is a definite highlight, acting as the uniting force of all the design and performance elements, creating a dream-like state as everything melds together.

Andrew Sutherland and Olivia Hendry in Salome (Delta)

After seeing Salome I looked into the referenced texts and they did enhance my understanding of the show, with certain parallels and themes becoming more evident. However, I wouldn’t say prior knowledge or further research is essential for understanding or relating to the piece.

It’s cliché to say but there is something for everyone within Salome. There is such a diversity of voices and intimate perspectives presented that there will be certain things that strike a chord within some but not others. Seeing Salome is very much an individual experience.  

Salome is on now at The Blue Room Theatre and runs until Feb 5. As mentioned in this review, this show covers potentially triggering topics, it’s important to look at the warnings before seeing the show.