Pros: The young cast were all excellent.
Cons: At bit too ‘shouty’ at the beginning.
Lord of the Flies is still a school text, so it was no surprise to find the theatre filled with school groups. I always find it a positive experience when that happens; It gives the whole place a marvelous atmosphere full of energy, anticipation and appreciation. I guess in realising that the majority of ticket holders would be at the younger end of the spectrum, the company have added some current cultural references. I caught the references to Big Shaq (sic) which went down well, and I am sure there were probably others I missed. The cast looked like most of the audience, even to the point of wearing similar hoodies, it took us all a minute or two to realise they were on stage.
After a choreographed routine simulating the crash landing, we are left with Piggy (Luke MacLeod) still fairly upbeat at this stage and invoking ‘Auntie’; and Ralph (Amber Wadey) full of wonder at the beautiful sun-filled scenery. The happy atmosphere is marred upon the arrival of Jack (Nick Cope) and the choir. There is an immediate dislike and antagonism between Jack and Ralph who seem to be bellowing at each other from the moment they are onstage together, eliciting at least one overheard interval comment of ‘They are all shouting at each other too much.’ I think the play would have befitted from some tweaks in the direction of this section. Rather than immediate, full-on, loud disagreements, perhaps something a bit softer and more co-operative to make more of the contrast with the later savagery. The descent into chaos continues, with an incredibly effective and chilling scene just before the interval.
The young cast are all very talented and it is difficult to pick out any for particular mention. It was interesting the way twins Sam ’n Eric portrayed the effects of the stress as time went on, with Sam (Nell Hardy) becoming more and more animated and twitchy, and twin Eric (Calvin Crawley) becoming so still he nearly blended into the background. Georgina Barley’s Roger was manipulative and disturbing. Luke MacLeod maintained Piggy’s affable vulnerability and sense of what was right and proper. There were audible gasps of dismay at his demise, bearing in mind it is likely that 99.9% of the audience knew what was coming.
The set had not been taken overboard. It looked like the black painted spaces used by school drama departments with a few plastic chairs and odd props littered about. That is all that was necessary though, the strength of the performances transformed the stage into a remote coral island. Julia Cave’s striking choreography evoked scenes of pagan tribal dance, really intensifying the atmosphere, the music and sound, swelling to a crescendo at appropriate times. In case you were wondering about the female sounding names above, Lazarus have worked on this ‘… without gender references in order to examine the plays themes….’ – it works well. This is an emotional and thought-provoking production that I recommend.
Author: William Golding
Adapted for the stage by: Nigel William
Director: Ricky Dukes
Producer: Lazarus Theatre Company
Music and Sound: Nicola Chan
Movement Director: Julia Cave
Box Office: 02088587755
Booking Link: https://www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/events/lord-flies
Booking Until: 24 March 2018