William Golding’s classic Lord of the Flies is transferred onto the stage in all its savage glory in this play exploring violence, gang culture, and the collapse of order and civilisation.
The familiar story is set in the backdrop of World War 2, with group of evacuees (all of them young boys) suddenly finding themselves stranded on an island after a plane crash. After all the boys gather, the heroes of the story, Ralph and Piggy, try to establish some rules with the aid of a large shell.
However, their voices are quickly drowned out by Jack, who’s forceful attitude and rhetoric tap into many of the boy’s violent and primal instincts.
Jack, with his bloodthirsty right-hand man Roger by his side, then forms a violent and lawless gang, destroying anyone and anything that gets in their way.
The violence is so infectious that Ralph and even Piggy almost get swallowed by it.
It was a well portrayed, well executed performance played by a very talented group of children at Aquila Youth Theatre who captured an intensity that many adults would’ve struggled to portray.
A special mention must be given to the boy who played Ralph. The distress and anguish he projected when tragedy struck or when he was on the receiving end of Jack’s gang was so real it was almost frightening. He has a bright future ahead of him should he continue to pursue acting.
Other stand out performers from the young actors from Edinburgh and Berkshire were from the girls who played Roger and Piggy.
Roger embraced her character’s vicious bloodlust with an impressive amount of gusto, while Piggy did a good job of maintaining a convincing cockney accent throughout.
At times, the carboard polls that were supposed to represent trees obscured the audience’s view of the performance, but with the limitations of the stage, it’s hard to see how that could be helped.
Fortunately, it took absolutely nothing away from the disturbed and savage nature of the play. If Golding had been there to see it, he most certainly would’ve been proud of this raw and brutal interpretation of his equally raw and brutal book.