I have never been to the Lowry Theatre before, so I took a punt on a last minute trip to see The Lord of The Flies being performed there for a short one week stint and in all honesty, I am very glad I did as it lived up to everything that had been written about it and it is now gone straight to the top of the list of best theatre production I have seen.
From the moment you arrive at your seats and await the start of the production, you feel as though you have been transported into the desert island with the stars of the show.
The stage set is magnificent, the vast majority of the stage is taken up by half a jumbo jet, half destroyed so you can see the wreckage inside. The front of the stage (and from what I could see from my seat in the Circle, half the space in front of the front row) is littered with baggage which you can imagine was thrown from the wreckage as the plane landed.
The production starts with one solitary boy (Piggy) entering the stage looking lost trying to work out what has happened, shortly after, he is joined on stage by Ralph, the two seem to strike up an instant bond (I guess you probably would if you happened to find yourself in such a situation), shortly after, they are joined by the remaining survivors, a group of school boys who all seem to attend the same school
The first defining moment of the play commences as Ralph and the leader of the other group (Jack) commence a power struggle to decide who will be the leader of the group.
The first impressive bit of pyro follows shortly after when the group decide to build a fire to try to get the attention of any passing ships, the fire starts off in a metal bin towards the centre of the stage, but soon spreads up the wing of the plane, even from the circle you can feel the heat of the fire, which again makes you feel like you are going through the same ordeal as the plane survivors .
I think most people are very aware of the story behind The Lord of the flies, so I won’t go into too much detail around that, but I shall focus more on how the story is translated into the theatre setting.
As the situation descends into chaos and darkness, so does the lighting, stage set and actors, often without you actually realizing it’s happening.
The plane gets dirtier and more trashed as the play proceeds, as do the characters clothing which becomes more ragged as time progresses.
The split between the two camps is handled well as well, although the scene is ‘stuck’ in one place by the plane and all the actors tend to be on the stage at the same time, the director has come up with a very ingenious way of splitting the cast, they either instantly freeze on the spot whilst they are half way through what they are doing, or they start to move in slow motion, whilst the other half of the cast take over the story line.
I often found myself surprised that the actors did not run into each other or knock each other over, so tight was the choreography throughout the whole play.
The most surprising thing, which I only found out after the show by reading the programme was that a number of the cast had never taken part in a live theater production before, so credit has to be given to each one of the cast for their flawless acting throughout the whole play.
Some people have complained that the production was a little too long at just over 2 hours, but I personally feel that this was the perfect length and allowed the stage production to give a very fine reproduction of a classic book.
The only downside to seeing something at a theatre is that you don’t get to re-watch it, as there are bound to be little bits that are missed on a solitary watch.
Lets hope they decide to make a DVD of the production some point down the line.
I honestly would have gone to see the show again, but sadly I went to the last but one show on the Saturday and the evening show was a sell out.
I believe the production is still going to be touring the UK into the new year, so if you get a chance to go and see it, I highly recommend you do, it’s well worth the £30.