As someone who ashamedly has not read the book or knows of the story of Lord of the Flies I was somewhat unprepared when I walked into Liverpool Empire Theatre yesterday. I was concerned that I would not be able to follow the play and come away feeling disappointed that I had not read up on it more beforehand.

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

In fact, I was completely engrossed by the stage production, which was very easy to follow. It relied very little on props but more on the sheer talent of the actors on stage and the choreography by Scott Ambler. A metal framework, a few railings full of coats, some baskets and large cans were all these young actors had to play with to make this beloved story come alive. There was nothing to hide behind- a play that was comprised of just raw talent and carefully thought out dance moves and lighting by Chris Davey.

If you are like me and have managed not to come across this book at school or since I will give you a little background.

Lord of the Flies is based on the dystopian novel of the same name by William Golding.

A group of young British boys are marooned on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean during a nuclear war when their plane suddenly crashes. They try to exert power among themselves; however the result is far more destructive than at first intended.

The main character Ralph uses a horn to bring the survivors together and devise a plan; consequently he quickly becomes the leader of the group. The conch then acts as a means for the boys to speak when they hold it so that the whole group is heard equally.

Another boy; Jack however, has other plans and refuses to follow Ralph's lead as he craves the role of the 'chief' for his own gain.

Jack convinces the group that there is a monster on the island and that if he kills it he will gain the power back. As the group becomes loyal to Jack through nothing else but fear for their own safety, a hierarchy is born.

Knowing now that the story is supposed to take place on an island I was impressed at how it had been adapted for the stage. A large metal shutter was used to symbolize their isolation- I thought this was an inventive alternative to the original story. Similarly it has been brought right into the present day as the boys try to seek signal on their mobile phones when they realize their fate- a great way to engage with their younger audience.

The book and the play focus on the subjects of human nature and how selfish people can become in extreme situations rather than looking to the greater and common good. From the optimism of naivety to the harsh reality of savagery to survive- the boys revert back to their primitive instincts. The play pays homage to the book by expertly exploring the themes of power versus living in harmony via the medium of dance and music.

Clearly the book and the play have had a continuous impact on movies and novels since their publication and production, proving how timeless this story is and will continue to be.

I was surprised that this is book studied widely in schools as it is at heart a very dark story, however teaches children and adults alike how far we have come, but similarly how easy it is to slip back under extreme circumstances.

The music by Terry Davies was very atmospheric and conveyed the mood effectively as the boys and their surroundings degenerated into a hopeless sight before our very eyes. Again; the production relied very little on costume- the boys appear at first in their immaculate uniforms and as the play progresses- their tribal markings and ragged clothes emphasize the longevity of their time on the island.

Overall, I am glad that I have ticked this play off my list. It has sparked my interest in both the film and the book to make a comparison and I have enjoyed taking the time out to look a little more closely at the themes and the allegorical relationships between the characters.

Given that the majority of actors are so young it is always a positive sight to watch driven and passionate school children inject their boundless energy into something so worthwhile and unique.

by for
find me on and follow me on