The story of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is one that is familiar to the UK public. Having earned its place as a standard GCSE exam text, there’s a high probability that the majority of people will have at least heard of it. This observation was well reflected in the striking number of high school pupils present in the audience last week, when the classic tale of moral corruption was brought to Norwich Playhouse.
Presented by the multi award winning and critically acclaimed Sell a Door Theatre Company, the confines of the Playhouse auditorium were close to full capacity for the first of two local nights of this promising production. The remarkably well laid out Norwich Playhouse boasts a good view for audience members whether at the front or the back, and despite the theatre being full and more than a little warm, the atmosphere was tangibly vibrant and enthusiastic.
As the lights went down and the cast revealed themselves, it became apparent that the children of Golding’s novel would be portrayed by adults in this production. Every audience member was completely encapsulated from the moment the actors appeared on the stage until the moment they left again. Creative use of few props made this an impressive piece of physical theatre from early on, and it continued to be so for the entirety of the performance.
As the play unfolded, each scene and each character felt fresh and bold. Throughout, it remained totally believable that the accomplished actors displayed on stage were, in fact, a group of school boys stranded on an island with no rules or order. The altogether darker second half was gripping, with sinister chaos reigning freely on Golding’s fictional island and a once well-behaved group of children transforming into tribal, bloodthirsty beasts.
Despite how renowned Lord of the Flies is, even somebody encountering this tale for the very first time would be intrigued by the way the plot and the characters are presented in the Sell a Door version. An utterly convincing, relentlessly innovative and fantastically portrayed production of a story that has well earned its place as a classic – anarchy at its best.
Watch the trailer: