Lord of the Flies
This week sees the final week of the Open Air Theatre tour for Lord of the Flies, having toured since September 2015 and the Churchill Theatre in Bromley plays host to this.
During a (unnamed) war a plane, carrying a group of school boys crashes onto an island, killing all of the adults aboard. However 9 boys survive and the result leads to an exploration of the darker side of humanity. We follow the boys as they attempt to survive with the resulting battle of civilisation, led by Ralph versus savagery , led by Jack.
The first thing that strikes you when you arrive in the auditorium is the set. You are faced with a shorn off airplane, luggage strewn across the stage and a wing across the other half of the stage. The set not only looks impressive but is used to great effect. The plane’s wing that is attached serves as the mountain and the detached wing allows for levels as well as numerous trap doors for the cast to fly through. This set allows the cast to move around it with seeming ease with cleverly disguised footholds in the plane and strategically placed ropes. As a result the show feels fluid and has a great amount of movement within it.
The direction by Timothy Sheader is also very well executed. The simple use of freezes allows the audience to see what is happening at different parts of the island with the characters in two different locations being in close proximity to each other. This in turn provides a stark contrast of physicality between the savage boys and the civilized group. The fights and the movement was well choreographed and the moments of savage dance really highlighted the boys decline into savagery.
Lord of the Flies asks a lot from the young company but without exception they deliver. Freddie Watkins as Jack creates a ferocious figure of the leader of the savages and by the end of act 2 he is almost unrecognizable in demeanour as to the public school boy you meet at the opening of act 1. Luke Ward-Wilkinson as Ralph also creates a perfect balance of a natural leader but one who is conflicted over popularity and doing the right thing. Benedict Barker played the youngster of the group, Perceval, with innocence which makes it even more shocking when he eventually sides with Jack.
You haven’t got long left to catch this tour of Lord of the Flies but it is a show that I would urge you make the effort to get yourselves down to Bromley to try and catch the tail end of the tour. This production of Lord of the Flies really highlights the possibilities of theatre when everything works in harmony, from the set to the cast all serving to bring this classic story to new audiences.
Lord of the Flies is on until Saturday at the Churchill Theatre. Click here to find out more about the show.