William Golding’s classic novel Lord of the Flies is transformed into a gripping, haunting and powerful production by Nigel Williams.
Straight from the Regents Park Open Air Theatre the set is specatcularly designed by Jon Bausor. It’s the scene of an abandoned plane crash, the smoking wreck with suitcases sprawling out of the side creates the main image on stage. Surrounded by abandoned belongings the set is innovative and expressive allowing the action on stage to be amplified by its atmosphere.
It’s a story of desperation, stuck on this remote island the boys are left to their own devices to survive. Whilst they attempt civilisation, mainly enforced by Piggy (Anthony Roberts), they use a conch to allow whoever is holding it to speak freely. Virtuous Ralph (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) strives to keep the boys on the straight and narrow in the hope of being rescued, he lights a fire intending for the smoke to play as a signal for help.
As the sky gets darker so does the performance, in act two the play becomes haunting. Turning on each other the boys have resulted to savagery, it almost becomes painful to watch as civilisation diminishes and the boys turn to violence and murder.
Voted in as the leader Ralph is played by Luke Ward-Wilkinson, his stage presence is commanding and his characterisation is excellent particularly as he descends from noble leader to breaking down on stage. Timid Piggy is played by Anthony Roberts who captures the fearful young boy faultlessly. Despite being the comedic character at the start, as the play progresses so does Piggy’s apprehension turning him into a nervous wreck that is teased and tortured by the other boys.
Jack played by Connor Brabyn attempts to dominate the group with his brash persona, however his attempts are soon pushed aside which angers him, causing him to lead half of the boys astray into tribal savagery. His portrayal of the self righteous and superior character who believes his maturity overrules the others is superb.
Perceval is played by Guy Abrahams, such a young performer with extraordinary talent. Although it took him a little time to warm up at the start, once engulfed in the role he brought a sense of light into the show and as the sweet innocent boy became dark alongside the others, it enhanced the shock and thrill of the performance.
Lord of the Flies is compelling, raw and undeniably disturbing.
The UK Tour is at the Lowry until the 5th of December and tickets can be found here.