Lord of the Flies, Gillingham School

prompt LordOfTheFliesLgWILLIAM Golding was a teacher at Bishop Wordsworth’s school in Salis­bury when he wrote his most famous novel, the dystopian and enduringly terrifying Lord of the Flies.

The world is at war and a plane carrying schoolchildren to a place of safety away from the conflict crashes on a remote tropical island. It’s the sort of paradise we see in exclusive holiday brochures.

But before long the children, from several different schools and backgrounds and exposed for the first time to physical hardship, begin to demonstrate the worst of human nature.  Alliances are created and jealousies erupt.

In Jane McCarthy’s stylish production at Gillingham School, the young actors captured the momentum of the action, never letting up on the intensity of the story.

They were helped by the percussive sounds of the seven-piece band direc­ted by Dave Griffiths and an atmospheric set designed by Mark Best.

Chloe Norris, such a memorable Maria in last year’s Twelfth Night, turned in a scary performance as bullying choir prefect Jac, leading the more impressionable castaways into ever more horrifying feats of barbarism.

Sam Frost was lovable and totally convincing as the myopic and shy Piggy, and Alistair Jenkins gave a multi-faceted performance as Ralph, whose British decency is strained to the limit as he confronts the reality of human nature.

Oliver Stockley’s sensitive Simon was heart-breaking, and Alex Broughton (Viola in Twelfth Night) returned as the devious Roxy.

The Lord of the Flies is an ensemble piece, and every one of the cast must have worked long and hard to achieve the degree of disciplined choreography and speech patterns that the show demands.

Congratulations to them all for a chilling night in the school theatre.


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