Review: Lord of the Flies at the New Vic

THERE’S no curtain raising for Lord of the Flies as the spectacular plane crash set spreads out into the audience complete with scattered luggage and other debris.

Dominated by the tail and half the fuselage of a wrecked airliner, the scenery then adapts itself constantly throughout the show as the action switches from beach to mountain top and jungle. The lurch from civilised schoolboys to primitive savagery among the crash survivors matches the dramatic backdrop as William Golding’s classic story is played out in all its brutality.

With no adults to supervise, the boys quickly descend from democratic discussion to bullying, gang mentality and eventual murder.

While the play’s first half is virtually a fevered non-stop argument, the second starts to examine the big issues of Lord of the Flies, like the value of law and order, why humans cling to ritual and how close to the surface our savage origins can be.

The boys’ performances are pretty much faultless but the real star is the setting and the ingenious way of switching scenes with clever lighting and stop-start acting, culminating in a terrifying slow-motion chase. Huge moral questions mix with great acting and adrenalin-inducing violence, it’s not an easy watch but well worth it.

BARRY RUTTER

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