The concept of this Theatr Clwyd and Sherman Theatre production was flawed from the off. Female actors, shoe-horned into male parts – obliged to remain Ralph, Eric, Jack – are hobbled by this script for boys. Lord of the Flies, the play, does not present enough opportunity to explore and exploit a genuine, feminine retelling. The all-female cast is little more than a gimmick in a production which lacks truth, integrity and purpose.
The production might have worked better as a true period piece, set in an un-liberated age. The journey from traditional, repressed female to desert-island warrior might have been more interesting. Instead, these are obviously 21C schoolgirls, sporting leggings and trainers, already confident in their attitudes and physicality. These modern girls bare flesh without inhibition; they high-five, group-hug and chant with abandon. Their journey to frenzied murderers is short and less compelling, dramatically.
Kate Lamb and Lola Adaja
Director Lucy Jordan fails to create atmosphere or suspense. She allows her cast to become shrill and incoherent at times of tension; she permits the pivotal violence between Jack and Ralph to descend into an embarrassing hand-bags at dawn.
Hannah Boyce, Leah Walker, Kate Lamb, Laura Singleton, Lowri Izzard, Lowri Hamer, and Mari Izzard
Hannah Boyce, Kate Lamb, Leah Walker and Laura Singleton
The cast do the best they can, but are faced with the fait accomplis of an unadaptable, old-fashioned and macho script; they are working on a stylised set, which contributes little to the fantasy – the hunters have to work really hard not to see their prey.
I was excited and pleased to support a showcase of young, female Welsh/Wales-based talent in a bold, feminised reimagining of this classic tale. Instead, the co-producers chose publicity and style over substance for our sisters. I left the theatre feeling thwarted and disappointed that Wales’ artists and audiences have been served so badly.
Until Nov 3, Sherman Theatre
Images Sam Taylor