Lord of the Flies at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

The set for Lord Of The Flies includes a plane wreckage which reaches 40ft above the stage.
The set for Lord Of The Flies includes a plane wreckage which reaches 40ft above the stage.
Picture: Shutterstock

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When it was first published in 1954, Lord Of The Flies was something of a flop, quickly going out of print in the USA.

But more than 60 years later, the dystopic tale is considered a classic of modern fiction, spawning film adaptations and the Regent’s Park Theatre’s stage production, which comes to the Mayflower in Southampton from Tuesday to Saturday.

After their plane crashes on a remote island, a group of schoolboys are forced to fend for themselves. As their primitive instincts take over, their democratic community degrades into a brutal regime of torture, murder and superstition.

Originally an outdoor performance, the show has been adapted for a UK theatre tour. Co-director Liam Steel says that each environment had its challenges and benefits.

‘At first I didn’t think the show would work inside but it does. Fire works surprisingly well indoors – outside it is a natural element but when you are in a theatre it becomes a threat. There is this element of danger because you are confined in a space with it.’

He adds: ‘One of the main differences has been the lighting. For the original production the sun went down as the show progressed, and as it got darker so did the play itself. With this version the lighting can be much more controlled.’

People are staggered when you tell them the cast is older. They say they look about 12

Co-director Liam Steel

Considering the show’s subject matter, the cast is made up primarily of young adults rather than children – but the producers auditioned hundreds of actors to keep an authentic feel.

‘People are staggered when you tell them the cast is older,’ says Liam. ‘They say they look about 12!

‘It is important to believe that they are schoolboys to have the emotional effect.’

Tickets: £14.50 to £29.50, visit mayflower.org.uk or call (023) 8071 1811 to book.