Theatre Review: Lord of The Flies

Lord of The Flies Theatre

The stage is impressively set for a spectacular theatrical adaptation of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, but therein lies a small problem, says David Mullane.


Lord of the Flies, the celebrated dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding, has crash-landed on the stage of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

Entering the auditorium, audiences discover a vast tropical jungle scene with a canopy of trees, a dense undergrowth upstage, and a downstage beach upon which sits the mangled debris of a plane, featuring the tail section of an actual airplane.

The stage is set for this allegorical tale of survival and war amid a group of British schoolboys, stranded after a plane crash on a remote island in the Pacific. Sent from home as part of a wartime evacuation, they find themselves the founders of a new civilization, one that quickly falls asunder in a mess of power struggles, inhuman appetites, monstrous fears and tribal warfare.

Adapted by Emmy-nominated author Nigel Williams, this is an adaptation of spectacle and special effects in which fire spreads with abandon across the set and decaying bodies drop from the fly-loft above.

Equaling the show’s high production values is the talent of its cast of young men, for whom rehearsals meant not only line readings and dialect coaching, but circuit training and combat instruction too. The talented troupe spends the length of the play running the length and breadth of the stage, and herein lies the one major flaw of the show.

The stage, whilst impressive in its scale and detail, is fixed, which means location changes and simultaneous planes of action are difficult to achieve. Cutting between two groups of boys who occupy the same island and the same cramped stage, director Timothy Sheader elects to have them move amongst each other as if unaware of the other. This leads to some confusion and takes from the tense energy of the play, created by the performers.

That the direction drags down the performances and production is unfortunate but it’s not a terminal misstep. It speaks to the spirit of the show that you find yourself willing for the boys to find their way again in the narrative jungle.

Lord of The Flies runs at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until November 28, buy tickets here.


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