It’s been many years since I first read this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a current day version, which was true to the actual book, but brought up-to-date by the director Amy Leach in many ways including the characters. It is quite relevant to the present day, where children are fleeing war torn countries, hopefully to safety. The language used is true to the original and would provoke much discussion amongst today’s teenagers and others studying the text.
The first view of this stage set was quite eerie, the trees and vegetation were all black suggesting that the area was devastated by the war. The changes with lighting and sound effects creating the correct ambience throughout. The background sounds throughout echoed the sea and the thunderstorm and fire were particularly effective.
The cast were on stage at first with their belongings, indicating their backgrounds. The crash was very effective with items strewn across the set. As the cast came together, conflicts began to show almost immediately between Ralph and Jack with Piggy trying to mediate. The black conch shell had an important part throughout the play as it did in the original book.
The boar, boar’s head, and the fires and smoke were created effectively to add to the reality of the play. The costume department fitted out the cast appropriately and effectively ‘aged’ the costumes as the play progressed. The whole play was well choreographed especially the beast scene.
The cast contained a very diverse range of abilities, with a great deal of acting credits under their belt. It was refreshing to see disabled actors especially Simon (Adam Fenton) whose role was performed perfectly. The use of sign language was also encompassed well into the play.
Jack (Patrick Dinesen) in his first professional role as choir prefect was imposing, which continued throughout as he led the wild tribe. Ralph (Sade Malone) and Piggy (Jason Connor) were effective in their roles especially when trying to get the whole group to stay together, despite the inevitable friction. All this young cast performed their roles confidently and credibly.
Whether you have read the book or seen the film, this play encompasses the whole vision William Golding had when he wrote this nearly 70 years ago. If children were left to their own devices with no adult guidance what would be the outcome? Would they become wild and kill, or would they look towards rescue and conserving life?
If you are now wondering about the play, it’s well worth going to see it. It has a 12+ rating due to the nature of the play. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Lord of the Flies runs at Leeds Playhouse Quarry Theatre until 8 April 2023, then on tour. Full details at: leedsplayhouse.org.uk/event/lord-of-the-flies
This post was written by reader Barbara Beck in return for two free tickets, as part of South Leeds Goes To The Playhouse.
Photo: Aki Nakagawa, Patrick Dineen, Jason Battersby, Nate Leung, Justice Ezi, Sade Malone in Lord of the Flies. (Anthony Robling)
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