Thursday, 17 March 2016

Lord of the Flies - Review

Churchill Theatre, Bromley


****


Written by William Golding
Adapted by Nigel Williams
Directed by Timothy Sheader



Lord of the Flies



The Churchill's curtain rises, revealing a crashed plane in a jungle-esque setting. To a deeply reverberating score plied with ominous overtones, the stage is set for this darkest of tales.

Lord of the Flies, studied at schools across the country, is one of the great British novels. William Golding, an English teacher, once allowed his class to conduct a classroom debate and when verbal and physical mayhem ensued, had to intervene to calm things down. The episode was to inspire the premise of his text - that the evil capacity to descend into savagery exists inside us all. 

Golding's chilling novel is aptly staged by Regent Park's Open Air Theatre. John Bausor's excellent set is ingeniously adapted to the Bromley floorboards and with Nick Powell's carefully composed score, the cast of young actors has an ideal environment in which to explore themes of governance, decency and humanity.

Director Timothy Sheader and co-director Liam Steel do an outstanding job in amplifying the uncomfortable truths buried within Golding's story. Whilst the performances across the board may be variable, the well established chemistry between the actors is undeniable, resulting in a seamless and believable interpretation of Nigel Williams' script.

Anthony Robert's Piggy, Luke Ward-Wilkinson's Ralph and Matthew Castle's Roger are all immensely comfortable in their characters' skins and their performances are probably the most natural and riveting. However it is the youngest member of the cast, Benedict Barker as Perceval, who steals the show. With a beautifully executed vocal and physical delivery Barker is at home on this stage and he makes an impressive professional debut.

Building towards the horrific denouement, the directors do a fine job focussing on particular elements, slowing down the action to ensure nothing is missed by the audience. True to form, the ending is abrupt after a much heightened climax, leaving the audience stunned and one actor still racking with sobs as the cast takes a bow. To say this production has punch would be a gross understatement. 

Closing the end of its UK tour at Bromley's Churchill Theatre, this show marks the triumphant finale of a masterful production.


Runs until 19th March
Reviewed by Bhakti Gajjar
Photo credit: Johan Persson

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