One is captivated upon entry. Catching a glimpse of this season’s much talked about set is a real privilege. The set, a piece of an art installation in its own right, features the tail-end of a torn passenger plane surrounded by the all too real debris of human belongings, perfectly scattered amongst the stage. As night falls, the audience is thrown into the disturbing tale of human savagery.
William Golding’s famous novel Lord of the Flies tells the story of a group of young school boys who find themselves stranded on an island following a plane crash. Initially, the boys are excited at the prospect of living without adult supervision. Soon, however, their adventure transforms into the uncanny power struggle between Ralph (the elected leader) and Jack (a very forceful discrepant). This power struggle between Jack and Ralph divides the group; creating two very different factions, making way for an unruly, almost familiar, descent into primal violence.
It is a privilege to see that the production’s director, Timothy Sheader, has managed to remain faithful to Golding’s vision whilst preserving the essence of Nigel William’s adaptation to the stage. Sheader skilfully uses a mixture of enchantingly atmospheric music, energetic physical movement, the incessant stomping of feet, blood, fire and the repetition of tribal chants to create some breath-taking moments.
Generally, the production fails to disappoint. The only criticism would be that the first half of the performance felt a little stretched out, often relying on the over-enthusiastic performances of some of the cast members. The dialogue proved repetitive at times, fooling the audience into a false build-up and then rather disappointingly falling somewhat flat.
The second half over-compensated for the above. As London descended into night, the performance came alive with a magnificent albeit sombre glow, adding to the spooky liberation of human savagery, paving the way for the show’s outstanding performances. James Clay engineered Jack’s transformation into evil both confidently and convincingly, whilst the performance’s element of madness can be mostly attributed to his loyal sidekick Roger, artfully played by Matt Ingram. George Bukhari was cast perfectly as Piggy, playing him with unremitting conviction, during his professional debut.
A visual spectacle. An inspiring showcase of young talent, creative genius and intelligent direction.
Lord of the Filies is playing at Regents Park Open Air Theatre until 18th June. For more information and tickets, see the website here.