*I received press tickets in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own. Photo credit: Sam Taylor.
Last night my theatre buddy and I went to review Lord of the Flies at Sherman Theatre. Adapted by Nigel Williams, this classic novel written by William Golding takes a deep look into the human psyche and the concept of ‘pack mentality’.
Review: Lord of the Flies at Sherman Theatre
When I was invited by Sherman to review Lord of the Flies I couldn’t wait! Having studied, and fallen in love with, the book during my adolescence, I knew I would devour this adaptation. The advertisement alone creates an unnerving feeling in the pit of your stomach!
The story follows a group of children stranded on an island. Some are scared, some are fierce and some are just trying to survive without causing any harm. Their core personalities and souls are laid bare as the story unfolds, and The Lord of the Flies (Beelzebub/The Devil) rears his ugly and demonic head in the form of murderous behaviour as well as the form (and notion) of the beast they believe lives in the forest on the island. With pack mentality presented at its finest, will anyone survive?
As I’ve already mentioned, I completely adore the book. from the deep social and human psyche themes running throughout to the clever and descriptive writing, it’s a must read for any teen (and adult!).
The book shows us the transformation of a group of young boys, but I couldn’t wait to see what Nigel Williams could create, as this adaptation is based around a group of young girls. I love the flip on this classic tale, and Williams has done an outstanding job of recreating this classic harrowing story.
The stage alone gave me chills as we found our seats, and there were moments between scenes when the lighting, shadows and effects made me feel incredibly edgy. This only added to the performance, creating a feeling of instability and paranoia. I felt as if I was in the performance, a difficult thing to achieve in such a large auditorium, but achieved it was!
The cast were faultless, and their costumes perfectly dishevelled as each scene went onto the next. I adored the juxtaposition of the two distinct groups as the story went forward. On the one hand, some children continued to get grubby and later wanted to return to normality through the medium of their old clothing and shoes. The other group became a tribe of hunters, with tied back hair, spears and tribal ‘face paints’.
The story was told with complete and utter respect for the book, and the dialogue was outstandly transferred to stage. I adored how the cast interacted, and each character stood out without being overshadowed or lost in the performance.
Lola Adaja performs as Ralph, and she performs her socks off. I adored her portrayal of the character who is constantly torn by her own conscience, yet finally decides to choose the better path. She gave her heart to the performance, and as she wept in the final scene, I too felt the urge to cry.
Gina Fillingham creates the perfect Piggy, and even though I felt irritated by the novel’s version of this character, Fillingham gave a gentler and more approachable version. I longed for somebody to listen to her, and I felt the urge to protect her from the evil within the tribe.
Kate Lamb performs as Jack, the strong-willed and slightly unhinged leader of the brutal tribe. Lamb offers a darker side to the story, and I love how she created a slight sense of uncertainly through subtle gestures and facial expressions, yet her own pride and fear of losing the title of ‘Chief’ causes her to spiral further into darkness.
For me, Roger offered the darkest elements to the performance. Much like the book, Hannah Boyce delivers on the cruel and calculating character. I felt unnerved watching her perform, and she reminded me of a mild and female version of Begby (Robert Carlyle – Trainspotting). Boyce was remarkably dark and sinister during the performance, and I still feel a little edgy at the thought of her egging Jack on during the darker scenes!
There were more fantastic performances from Leah Walker as Maurice, Lowri Hamer as Perceval, Laura Singleton as Henry and Matthew Bulgo as the Naval Officer who discovers them at the end of the play. Olivia Marcus offers a shy and sensitive Simon, who can see the evil around them in the shape of the beast, whilst Lowri and Mari Izzard give us Sam and Eric, twins who go from cutesy and fun to haunted and terrified.
There are some harrowing scenes of murder throughout the show, and although it made me feel uncomfortable, it’s the kind of story we need. We need to reflect on the darkness, discover which character we would be, and if the answer makes us even more uncomfortable, then perhaps we need to reconsider our choices. We are all capable of good and bad, but this story allows us to see the deeper consequences of following the crowd.
I think it’s perfectly pitched for adolescents, with peer pressure, decision making and morals at its core. Saying that, I know we as adults require gentle reminders about our own conscience, and what better way than a trip to the theatre and a date with a conch?
I hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Lord of the Flies at Sherman Theatre, let me know if you catch it and what you think of the show!
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