29 September to 3 October 2015
Reviewed by Angela Paull
Last night we went to see Lord of the Flies at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The Mayflower is a fabulous old theatre in the heart of the city and is surrounded by several car parks. It has a bar, restaurant and lovely squashy seats to make for comfortable viewing throughout the show. It was clean and tidy and all the staff were very polite and helpful.
As someone who studied Lord of the Flies at school, I was intrigued as to how the book could be adapted for the stage but the set was amazing. Dominated by a large crashed plane it was visually stunning. The plane had lots of trap doors and stairs and was used to represent other areas of the island.
This meant there was a lot of movement around the stage and this was all choreographed brilliantly. The entire cast moved with a natural fluidity and there were several “slow motion” sections that were fantastically effective, especially when combined with the dramatic music and lighting.
The play remained, on the whole, true to the book – though the odd modern touch (a group selfie and teasing being described as banter “The Archbishop of Banterbury and “Bant and Dec”) showed it had been moved to the present day.
The novel by William Golding is very thought provoking and the show was the same. The production very effectively showed the breakdown of the group of boys and how they quickly divided into good and evil. Freddie Watkins and Matthew Castle as “evil” boys Jack and Roger deserve special mention for brilliantly portraying the madness of the savagery that ensued.
Two murders later and reaching the climax of the show, where the entire group has turned against “good” boy Ralph you can’t help but be relieved when a captain from a passing ship comes to rescue the boys.
I should also mention the show’s programme which was a great read and sparked debate between my friend and I after the show. It’s a show where you start to question humanity, good v evil and just what circumstances, if any, could lead a person to become a killer. There were also several students in the audience who are clearly currently studying the book and you could hear the same debates ringing around the theatre as we left.
In summary this was a visually stunning, emotionally charged show that brought the book to life in an explosion of movement and dramatic music. It’s always a challenge to adapt an iconic book for the stage but this production did the job brilliantly.
Tickets cost from £14.50 to £29.50 (booking fees may apply).
Lord of the Flies is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton until 3 October 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811