Lindsay Kemp’s Salomé


Fragments are all you get with this one, unfortunately, but how tantalising they are. Lindsay Kemp’s 1975 stage production of Oscar Wilde’s play was probably the queerest there’s been to date, with Kemp himself playing Herod’s doomed daughter under a heap of silks and feathers. These stills from a sequence of Super-8 shots of the performance arrive courtesy of Nendie Pinto-Duchinsky, director of the forthcoming Kemp documentary Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance, a film whose title echoes Ken Russell’s film of the Wilde play. The connections circulate wildly (so to speak) around Kemp’s production: prior to this performance Kemp had acted for Ken Russell, while two of the other actors went on to work with Derek Jarman (as did Kemp). John the Baptist (above) was played by David Haughton who appeared as Ariel in Jarman’s Jubilee; Jack Birkett’s grinning features (bottom, right) appear in many of Jarman’s films. All the more reason to wish these clips were longer.

The Kemp documentary YouTube channel has a few more items related to Kemp’s stage work, notably another tantalising sequence of stills from Flowers (1974), an adaptation of Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers that also featured Haughton and Birkett.

Update: Thanks to Suzanne in the comments for pointing to her video which includes further film moments including Salomé performing with a live snake à la Salammbô.




Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Salomé archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Mister Jarman, Mister Moore and Doctor Dee
Saint Genet

4 thoughts on “Lindsay Kemp’s Salomé”

  1. Hi John.

    Those stills are from a video I complied this week for Zaine Griff who wrote a number of songs related to Lindsay Kemp and like myself he was once a member of the Kemp Co. The one called Flowers I also did….to his song.

  2. Wow, things keep turning up! A friend wrote to tell me he saw Flowers performed in Melbourne. Fascinating and frustrating without the visuals but thanks all the same. It occurs to me I’ve only heard him speak before in The Wicker Man where he has a Scottish accent.

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