DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Lord of the Flies – Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Writer: William Golding

Director: Timothy Sheader

Composer: Nick Powell

Producers: William Village and Timothy Sheader

Reviewer: Rich Jevons

Nigel Williams’ adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel is as starkly realistic as it is innovative and exploratory. Indeed, Golding’s narrative can be seen as a human experiment that is a microcosm of the macrocosm. Survivors of a plane crash, a group of schoolboys struggle for survival in a production that reveals the thin line between civilisation and barbarism, and Director Timothy Sheader’s treatment is both terrifying and gripping.

Kate Waters’ choreography for the fight scenes impacts deeply with a shocking energy. While John Bauser’s set is functional and fantastic in its depiction of an apocalyptic Armageddon, the use of live pyrotechnics adding to the sense of danger. Timothy Sheader’s direction is exacting and exciting and proves that Golding’s writing from the fifties stands the test of time.

Jack (a revelation in Freddie Watkins) has his choir and is hellbent on the hunt and bloodlust beyond avarice. Luke Ward-Wilkinson’s Ralph sees his leadership become tenuous, especially when he ‘sucks up’ to the bullied Piggy (a great performance by Anthony Roberts). The Beast becomes the figure of obsession and gives the youngsters the fear that fuels their descent into diabolical behaviour and used by Jack as a form of control.

There is much use of symbolism – like the conch held by the speaker during meetings – giving the piece a universal depth. Throughout, there is the sense of imminent catastrophe and the power of superstition and raw untamed evil. The casting is superb, with the ensemble really giving their all in a thoroughly believable performance. When at last rescue comes, the bright lighting sees them once more as simply frightened children. An immensely moving and crucially intelligent take on Golding’s allegorical tale.

Touring Nationwide | Image: Contributed

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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