Skip to main content

Lord of the Flies

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars


It's telling that it's a British Airways style Union Jack crest ripped asunder on the tail of the decapitated passenger plane that's been bombed out of the sky at the opening of Regent's Park Theatre's touring stage version of William Golding's novel. As it's colonialist history has made clear, behind the flag's stiff-upper-lipped veneer lays a symbol of something altogether less edifying.

That history is all but acted out in microcosm in Timothy Sheader's production of Nigel Williams' adaptation, which begins with jungle drums beating hard as the surviving schoolboys of the crash are thrown together on an unknown island. With Luke Ward-Wilkinson's Ralph an unassumingly wide-eyed outcast whose authority is challenged by the tribalism and mob rule of Freddie Watkins' Jack
and his gang, their little boys games soon get very serious indeed.

Played out on the vast expanse of Jon Bausor's detritus-littered set, Williams' script is peppered with visual and linguistic updates, from laptops and selfie sticks to references to Bear Grylls and I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, but there are far more significant parallels which don't need rewriting.

Substitute Jack's rhetoric about the need for spears to protect themselves from some mythical beast for weapons of mass destruction, and it's not difficult to recognise some real-life bogeymen. Jack's bullying of Anthony Roberts' Piggy and fear of anyone 'weirdy' is also telling, even as his self-absorbed dance moves resemble the last dregs of a suburban rave. Through all of this, Sheader and his large ensemble cast have created a thrillingly timeless look at Golding's parable of corrupted civilisation which suggests that barbarism really does begin at home.

The Herald, October 15th 2015




ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…