A stir­ring, smash­ing, stun­ning ada­p­ata­tion

The­atre mas­ter­piece Lord of the Flies crash-landed in High Wy­combe last week. Camilla Good­man re­views the show

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ARTS -

IN a word - Wow! I was com­pletely and ut­terly blown away by the sen­sa­tion­ally stun­ning show the Lord of the Flies, which opened at the Wy­combe Swan on Tues­day, Novem­ber 17 and ran un­til Satur­day.

Wil­liam Gold­ing’s 20th cen­tury clas­sic Lord of the Flies ex­plodes onto the stage in a re­mark­able pro­duc­tion direct from Lon­don’s award-win­ning Re­gent’s Park The­atre.

When a group of school­boys sur­vive a cat­a­strophic plane crash, what starts as a desert is­land ad­ven­ture quickly de­scends into a strug­gle for sur­vival in a darkly sin­is­ter world of su­per­sti­tion and im­moral­ity.

I first dis­cov­ered Lord of the Flies over a decade ago when I stud­ied it for drama at school, and I was com­pleted fas­ci­nated by it.

Un­for­tu­nately, when I was a pupil, I did not have the op­por­tu­nity to go and see it per­formed on stage, which I was gut­ted about.

How­ever, they do say good things come to those who wait, and oh boy, was it worth the wait.

Be­fore last night, I had only seen the 1963 film version of Lord of the Flies, which was orig­i­nally a book writ­ten in 1954, so I was curious, and a lit­tle cau­tious, about how it would play out on stage.

The an­swer – ex­tremely well.

I was wor­ried a lot of the drama seen in the film would be lost on the stage, but it was the com­plete op­po­site, it was in­ten­si­fied.

I felt like I was on the is­land with the boys, which was em­pha­sised by the ac­tors reg­u­larly break­ing the fourth wall.

I was sat on the edge of my seat for the ma­jor­ity of the play, which was cap­ti­vat­ing from start to fin­ish.

From the sec­ond I walked into the au­di­to­rium and spot­ted the set, I was gripped.

The set was com­pletely breath­tak­ing, and by far one of the very best I have ever seen – and I am in­clud­ing West End shows in that. And it only be­came more im­pres­sive as the play went on and boasted its many trap doors and lay­ers, which com­pli­mented the ac­tors’ move­ment.

Light­ing is not some­thing I nor­mally take much no­tice of when I am watch­ing a show, but it en­hanced the set as it por­trayed day and night and high­lighted what it wanted you to see and con­cealed what it did not.

The as­tound­ingly tal­ented cast was mainly made up of teenagers and young adults. The show’s youngest star, on the night I saw it, was 11-year-old Bene­dict Barker, from Bea­cos­nfield, who stud­ies drama at Stage­coach The­atre School, also in Bea­cons­field.

He was ab­so­lutely amaz­ing and I’m pretty sure al­most all the au­di­ence wanted to adopt him be­cause he was so sweet! As Bene­dict grows up I am con­fi­dent the size of his roles will grow too.

The three prin­ci­pal char­ac­ters, Jack, played by un­der­study Con­nor Brabyn on the night I saw it, Ralph, played by Luke Ward-Wilkin­son and Piggy, played by An­thony Roberts, were quite sim­ply breath­tak­ing. They were full of en­ergy from start to fin­ish and had you hooked on ev­ery word they said, they were born for th­ese roles.

It is also worth prais­ing Keenan Munn-Fran­cis, who played Si­mon, who has some very chal­leng­ing scenes in the show, which he ex­e­cuted per­fectly.

Matthew Cas­tle played the psy­chopath Roger to p wer­fec­tion, he was really quite ter­ri­fy­ing!

Ev­ery sin­gle cast mem­ber was phe­nom­e­nal and each play their part in making Lord of the Flies a mas­ter­piece, they make the show.

An­other thing I do not nor­mally no­tice when watch­ing a play is the move­ment chore­og­ra­phy, but it was so beau­ti­fully done in this pro­duc­tion it was hard not to no­tice as the boys weaved in and out of each other and around and over the set.

One of my favourite fea­tures in the show was when some of the cast moved in slow mo­tion while oth­ers con­tin­ued at

nor­mal pace, and then a few sec­onds later, bang, ev­ery­one was back at nor­mal speed.

It was usu­ally done dur­ing high-paced scenes and it was so ef­fec­tive.

The mu­sic and sound ef­fects used in the show were com­pelling and com­pli­mented the ac­tion per­fectly.

Lord of the Flies is more than 60 years old, but it is still as rel­e­vant to­day as it was then. The di­rec­tor of this show has made it even more rel­e­vant by adding in mod­ern ref­er­ences, such as self­ies, con­tem­po­rary songs and ref­er­ences to cur­rent tele­vi­sion shows, such as I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here.

Over­all, Lord of the Flies is a solid five out of five stars and it is, with­out ques­tion, the best play I have seen and I am des­per­ate to do so again.

Lord of the Flies really is Lord of the the­atre pro­duc­tions.

I would urge you to catch it while you can.

Lord of the Flies is on a UK tour un­til March.

For tour dates visit www. lord­ofthe­flies.co.uk.

Strik­ing: The set for Lord of the Flies in­cluded the crashed plane

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