American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF) by WorldStrides presents St Francis High School Theatre’s adaptation of this classic William Golding tale about a group of English boys who are being evacuated to a safe country in the pacific to escape worldwide war fallout, until their plane crashes on a deserted island.
This certainly has the feel of a devised and improvised piece, where the boys have been left (metaphorically) on a desert island, without adult supervision. At times it could certainly have benefitted from much more precise direction, both in terms of lines and movement. Having said that, I did like the visceral energy.
It starts with promise as we are introduced to Ralph and ‘Piggy’, two teenage schoolboys struggling to come to terms with their new situation on their desert island and creating a tentative friendship.
Their bond is soon tested when bully Jack and a group of grubby schoolboys appear. Soon the whole group are arguing about the politics of control, power, balance, chaos, rules and regulations, and of course leadership of the group. It is easy to see how this reflects the real (grown up) world and all the defects of human society, and how this seminal text became a firm favourite of the High School curriculums around the world.
Jack is not voted in as leader so instead forms a splinter group of blood thirsty hunters to hunt the pigs on the island and the imagined ‘beast’ that lives amongst them, screaming ‘kill the beast, spill its blood!’
When Jack proclaims that, ‘sometimes the beast can take the shape of a man or a child’, and that, ‘chief’s decide’, we all understand the implications.
The acting and commitment from the entire cast is never in doubt, a good effort which with a firmer hand at the helm and a slightly more restrained approach could have been even better.
Running time – 1Hr 10mins
Reviewer: Greg Holstead
Reviewed: 5th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: