Lord of the Flies: Review by Trevor Sinclair
Sydney Theatre Company really is presenting a wonderful season of stories for Sydneysiders. This week I saw its production of William Golding’s 1954 novel, “Lord of the Flies”, adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams and directed by Kip Williams.
Now, this is a story I’d not read since I was aged about fourteen at school. I recalled it as an astounding read at the time, a tale of anarchy, and ultimately a fight for leadership. I was keen to see if this stage adaptation could match the feelings that soared through me when reading it – the bullying, the fear mongering, the physical dominance, the carnage of toxic masculinity. It did.
Whilst the original story featured all white able-bodied boys, STC’s production brings us a more gender diverse collection of young adults. For example, Mia Wasikowska takes on the role of the likeable son of a naval officer, Ralph. Contessa Treffone owns the role of the bullying misfit Jack (I truly hate her character, hence, loved her portrayal of him). Hemiplegic actor Daniel Monks is Roger, Jack’s intimidating ally. Rahel Romahn is brilliant as the hapless (we need to have a meeting) Piggy, and transgender Nyx Calder plays Bill superbly.
Whilst I was hesitant initially with what appeared to be just another “black-box set”, I was thrilled to see it transform with very clever use of L.E.D. tubes and minimal props. The intensity of the lighting was cleverly increased with the intensity of the story. It’s particularly well used when more than pig’s blood is spilled.
The timeless Lord of the Flies has been brought to a new generation, by a new generation of actors, many of them making their debut for Sydney Theatre Company. This almost two hour, single-act, representation of the influence of toxic masculine culture is worth seeing. Lord of the Flies is playing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre until August 24.