If you are aware of the content of this famous curriculum featuring novel, you will know there’s no light and shade to the tale, and it is a story one could not really admit to liking in the true sense of the meaning. Nonetheless, I cannot be disparaging in any way of the quality of this stage production. It truly captures the frenzy and that horrible sinister element as it crashes through ones consciousness, revealing varying degrees of darkly appalling sides of human nature.
Sure enough there is offensive ‘in your face’ brash behaviour on display and scenes consist throughout of traumatic encounters involving different pairings and groupings of young males, with a larger faction ending up completely out of control. For the audience member it is a sensory overload, the music is booming, the voices are shouting all the time, there’s much mocking, bullying and violent outbursts. That repetitive chanting is extremely menacing. The fast paced, frenzied energy expelled is relentless; it’s fire and brimstone! These are the story elements, and it is all there.
The set build is a giant, so is in situ and is static, and, to that end, there is no way or means to make any switches, when it comes to scenes in different locations around the island we come to understand the pattern. Therefore, players enter or exit stage front, back, and left and right, they will climb into a hole in the floor, or drop down the back of props or scenery. We get to know when groups (or an individual) have moved to high ground, when hunting in the woods, or down on the beach. At times when it is impossible to alter the naturalism of some scenes, players remain on stage still and quiet while the spotlight pieces falls to others. The performances are very physical because of this.
There will be less complaining from school pupils who came in large numbers last night to see the play, who now, having experienced this kind of visual stimulation first hand, will have a better study based comprehension of this literary work than just plain thought and class discussion in a classroom setting can provide.
Theatre critic, Debra Hall attended press night of The Lord of the Flies at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 03 November 2015
Photography by Johan Persson
A repeat publication of this review appears online at Remotegoat Stage