Jamie Lloyd’s 2010 production of Oscar Wilde’s controversial, once-banned 1892 biblical play Salome featured actor,writer and director, Zawe Ashton in the title role as the wilful, head-hunting daughter of Herodias. Beginning in May at the Curve Theatre in Leicester it finished with a run at London’s Hampstead Theatre. “This updated Salome comes at you shrouded in mist, with a thumping soundtrack and its pants right down at its ankles and dragging in the dirt,” wrote Aleks Sierz in The Arts Desk, describing Zawe’s portrayal as “feisty raucousness”. The Guardian’s Michael Billington said “Zawe Ashton’s dancing to a ghetto blaster and voluptuously kissing the severed head suggests an adolescent in the grip of fierce erotic imaginings.”
The Screen International’s 2009 ‘Star of Tomorrow’ and the winner of Cosmopolitian Magazine’s ‘Ultimate Newcomer’ trophy at the Women of the Year’ Awards in 2012, Zawe is currently under commission to The Bush Theatre and the Clean Break Theatre Company. She is also appearing in the London Premiere of Abi Morgan’s Splendour at the Donmar Warehouse, where I caught up with her to sign this Salome sketch going in for last Saturday’s matinee.