Lord of the Flies

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

I THINK in order to appreciate this marvellous production you need to have read this famous book by William Golding.

I remember studying it in English Literature classes many years ago.

The grim tale of a group of boys stranded on a desert island and having to struggle for survival - and is some cases their lives - is one of desperation, hunting for food with little gangs forming then fighting each other like the savages they become.

Ralph, played by Sam Archer, is a natural leader and the rule is introduced that only the person holding the conch - a symbol of authority - is allowed to speak.

The conch literally becomes a bone of contention in the group and Ralph's close friend and sidekick Piggy, played by Sam Plant, in the end loses his life in trying to play fair when the rest of the boys turn against him.

Danny Reubens as Jack, leader of the swaggering 'thugs', is a fierce force on the island quick to pick up a following from the much younger boys in the group.

No words - apart from the killing cry - are spoken and it is the music and dance interpretation which cleverly brings the story alive.

It is a very dark, chilling, even a horror story to see the innocent boys become hunters and warriors in their battles to rule the roost. Their once fresh school uniforms ripped and daubed in blood as the story progresses.

The cast is made up of mostly Welsh actors who are all very talented dancers.

The haunting music by Terry Davies featuring, among others, cellist Robin Mason, speaks volumes and director/choreographer Scott Ambler is to be congratulated for bringing together so many elements to keep the audience gripped in their seats from start to finish.

The show finishes on Saturday, October 25.

Gina Robertson