Lord Of The Flies

Not so long ago, the idyllic setting of Regent’s Park was the regular host
to a pretty Midsummer Night’s Dream and a feel-good summer musical. Under
artistic director Timothy Sheader, the opening production of the 2011 season
– Lord Of The Flies – couldn’t be more different.

Jon Bausor’s set is the undoubted star of the show – the splintered shell of
a crashed aircraft, an avalanche of baggage pouring from its shattered
frame, dominates the tree-encircled island beach where a clutch of British
schoolboys find themselves stranded without adult supervision in Nigel
Williams’ 1995 stage adaptation of William Golding’s 1954 novel, Lord Of The Flies.

As Alistair Toovey’s fundamentally decent Ralph and more dangerous choir
leader Jack (James Clay) vie for leadership, argue over priorities and
finally lose sight of their objectives, the squabbling candidates of The
Apprentice temporarily come to mind. But the stakes here are much higher and
it doesn’t take long for the veneer of civilisation imposed by rule and
order to wear thin.

Faces are ritualistically smeared with blood after they
kill a pig, and bodies daubed with tribal paint to hunt the feared symbolic
beast which, in reality, is the darkness inside each one of them.
The young cast acquits itself well – George Bukhari’s asthmatic, myopic
Piggy (with his futile attempts to be make the others listen to reason) is
particularly impressive, as is 9 year old Harrison Sansostri who shares the
role of bewildered “littlun” Perceval.

But Lord Of The Flies’s script is functional rather
than inspired and can take little of the credit for the growing sense of
menace which descends as the night sky darkens overhead.


Open Air Theatre
Inner Circle, Regents Park, NW1 4NR
0844 826 4242
Tube: Baker Street
£19 – £39 (premium seats £46)
Until 18th June

– Louise Kingsley