Lord of the Flies

13 Apr

Last night at New Theatre we were presented with a spectacle of brutality and barbarism, a savage world of tooth and claw, barely hidden behind the thinnest veneer of civilization. But then the champagne ran out, and we were all politely ushered out of the foyer and into the street, to continue our revels elsewhere.

Director Anthony Skuse’s production of Lord of the Flies – tight, disciplined, and inspired – puts the lie to William Golding’s myth of the savagery barely below the surface.

Written after the horrors of World War Two and during the Cold War threat of nuclear holocaust, Golding’s novel must have rang true for many people.

This stage adaptation by Nigel Williams doesn’t ask an audience to consider the truth of the myth. The powerful performances from the entire cast make it quite believable.

What is valuable about this play is that it reminds us that the question is not merely “Is this true?” (The only honest answer to which is “who knows, and who could know, humanity’s ‘true’ nature?”)

What a strong production like this does is remind us that the question is also “What is the impact of me believing this myth to be true?” What behaviour is encouraged, what choices are endorsed, by the myth encapsulated in the slogan “All men are born evil”?

As our revels continued elsewhere, this question was discussed, in depth and happily without heat. We were almost civilized.

Veronica Kaye

Lord of the Flies

New Theatre  until 12 May


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