Brought by the Regent's Park Theatre Company to G-Live in Guildford.
Nigel Williams’ adaptation for the stage of William Golding’s powerful allegorical novel “Lord of the Flies” is a necessarily simplified version of the original. The plot is the same: a group of boys are marooned on a desert island and are forced to cope with emotional trauma and sudden freedom from adult supervision.
Golding explores the dark side of human nature and social conflict through the interactions of his disparate characters: the dogmas, prejudices, and social needs of English society are held up for inspection through the conflict and power-struggle that the boys enact in microcosm. Writing in 1954, after seeing action in WW2, Golding questions what it means to be human, and what civilisation really entails.
Nigel Williams helps the many GCSE students who have to study this complex text, by setting it in the 21st century and pointing up the most salient points of the moral discussion in it, so to lovers of the novel his dialogue can seem didactic. Williams “tells” what Golding “shows”.
The characters of the boys are played for their symbolic significance, necessarily stereotyped. Luke Ward-Wilkinson (Ralph, the voice of reason and democracy) begins skittishly but finds a mature voice as the plot unfolds; Anthony Roberts (Piggy) is solid and likeable as Ralph’s loyal advisor and advocate of planning, codes of conduct and rules (“We must have a meeting!”). Jack, the epitome of lust for control and power through violence, brutal dogma and bullying, is played by Freddie Watkins as a hyperactive, insecure maniac. All the actors play their roles with huge energy. The synchronised speaking of Felippe and Thiago Pigato as the browbeaten twins deserves a special mention.
I loved the sound track reinforcing mood and action and the frequent changes of lighting and pace, as one group of characters freezes to give way to attention to the other group who are notionally on a distant hill, or the whole ensemble moves in choreographed slow motion.
“The Lord of the Flies” is one name for Satan; the Lord of Misrule is another. This drama will surely encourage its audience to go back to the novel to discover its subtleties.
27th January 2016