Re: Bourne and New Adventures: Lord Of The Flies
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DON’T go and see Lord Of The Flies because some young amateur local lads are doing their best alongside professional dancers.
Go because their performances show that through talent and hard work they’ve more than earned their right to be up there to help create one of the most exciting large-scale shows Inverness is likely to see all year.
On Wednesday’s opening night you couldn’t spot one wobbly moment or fluffed dance move through the whole two-hour plus drama as the Highland youngsters "lived" their characters and seamlessly blended with award-winning director Matthew Bourne’s company of performers.
But the sluggish crowd were sometimes slow with their applause at scene ends – and possibly mean to deny a standing ovation the performance deserved.
William Golding’s book has schoolboys washed up on a deserted island with no adults present to help them survive after a plane crash. Order’s maintained for a while with friends Ralph, bespectacled, asthmatic Piggy and natural leader Jack exploring and organising a fire high up on a hill so rescuers can see the smoke and find them. But over time, Jack’s greed for power sees him isolating Ralph, Piggy and loyal twins Sam’n’Eric and leading the rest of the boys like a pack of hunters – so scared of a beast from their imagination that fear leads to violence.
The story’s been updated by Bourne with the island becoming a deserted theatre the boys are locked into, but the transfer isn’t completely seamless and leads to the occasional confusion about what is going on. Why is the sun and the moon so dominant and easy to see from within a locked building?
And we need to rely on Layton Williams’ great dancing and acting skills to get that his character Simon is probably having epileptic episodes – and that some of what he sees are visions.
But these are minor problems that only fleetingly trouble you in a production where overall movement, impressive parkour moves, dance and drama replace words brilliantly to tell the story of a descent into brutal anarchy.
Music and sound are also powerful tools in creating atmosphere. At the start, the growing noise of street riots explains why the boys retreat to the theatre for safety and as the second half begins, the increasing volume of jungle noises helps set the scene for the ever-more animal moves of the boys, gone shockingly native since we last saw them.
The perfectly-synchronised march-in of the uniformed schoolboys opening the story makes a great contrast with the equally in step hoodied hunters all clenched fists, stomping feet and stabbing sticks late in the second half. And for the show’s final moments.
There’s an interesting parallel that a set of youngsters can quickly transform into disciplined performers the way Golding’s schoolboys turn into savages – or just survivors?
This landmark production for Eden Court is exhilarating to watch and you’ll leave with your heart beating faster and your mind musing on the beast inside us all. Margaret Chrystall
Lord Of The Flies is on at Eden Court until Saturday.