Theatre review: Lord of the Flies, Sadler’s Wells, EC1

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies - Credit: Helen Maybanks

Dance pioneer Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures bring to life William Golding’s iconic dystopian novel in the show’s London debut.

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies - Credit: Helen Maybanks

It has been read by millions around the world and has been adapted for the silver screen twice.

But now William Golding’s dystopian novel Lord of the Flies has been given the Matthew Bourne treatment – and is brought to life through dance for the first time in London with all the raw energy and innovation expected of his trailblazing contemporary dance company, New Adventures.

Choreographed by Scott Ambler, the production with a 22-strong cast of men and boys – a number of whom were chosen from the local community – is powerful, moving and menacing.

While true to the iconic book in its plot, instead of the schoolboys being marooned on a desert island, they are trapped in a derelict theatre.

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The set is simple and remains unchanged throughout – testament to the spectacular talent and clever choreography on show here, which has you gripped from the word go.

Simulated slow motion scenes with strobes were breathtaking, while the stand out performance of the evening came from Layton Williams, who takes on the role of dreamer Simon and delivers an outstanding solo with beautiful fluidity and mind-blowing flexibility. Meanwhile Sam Plant’s depiction of downtrodden Piggy is endearing, and Danny Reubens portrayal of Jack rightfully intimidating.

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The intensity builds as the order breaks down among the schoolboys until things reach an electrifying climax. Alongside a thrilling score, this imaginative show can’t fail to enthrall.

Four out of five stars

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