‘Lord of the Flies’ swarms to fly­ing start

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY - RICHARD MAYS

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.

PHOTO: ALEXAN­DER HALLAG/SUP­PLIED

Ella Hope Hig­gin­son as Jack leads her band of is­land hun­ters.

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