‘Lord of the Flies’ swarms to flying start
Lord of the Flies by William Golding Adapted by Nigel Williams Directed by Jeff Kingsford-Brown Centrepoint Theatre, July 15 - August 5
A compelling concept with a committed cast on a clever sandcovered raked traverse with multi-level staging points, combined to great effect for Lord of the Flies.
Large cast performances are not often seen at Centrepoint, and a great deal of thought, care and attention has gone into ensuring this show is something special.
The story centres on a group of school children marooned on a tropical island after a plane crash during a nuclear war.
With no adult survivors, the children fend for themselves. Director Jeff Kingsford-Brown has turned the original boys’ English public schoo into a Kiwi coed, and the cast, led by a handful of young professional actors, quickly make this ‘ brave new world’ their own.
The epitome of young tearaways on the cusp of pubescence, they experience their idyllic island sanctuary descending into a place of fear, where might is right and school- yard bullies rule.
Ella Hope Higginson has the role to relish as choir prefect Jack, who first through simple sloganeering ‘‘Kill the pig’’, before resorting to direct dictatorial threat, moulds her choristers into a formidable squad of spear-weilding hunters.
She is aided and abetted by Nathan Mudge as Roger, her jittery, sociopathic henchman.
Facing them is Michiel Van Echten’s equivocating, indecisive Ralph, Comfrey Sanders as the insightful but epileptic Simon, and Leighton Stitchbury’s sensitively portrayed Piggy - the story’s overweight, asthmatic, practically blind, social and moral conscience.
Behind them, the energetic young cast take their mainstage performance chance and run with it.
A reflection of our times, LOTF could be about any bunch of abandoned kids anywhere in the world - even from off the streets of Palmerston North.
Theo Wijnmsa’s set is complemented by Talya Pilcher’s lighting and Josh Finegan’s brooding soundscape, which all help this morality tale build to its gutchurning ‘‘shoot-out’’ climax.
Ella Hope Higginson as Jack leads her band of island hunters.