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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Lord of the Flies

Also see Susan's reviews of The Happy Time and Eccentricities of a Nightingale

Lord of the Flies
Abe Cruz, Kyle Schliefer, Michael Grew, Alexander Strain, Ryan Nealy and Evan Casey
The adaptation of William Golding's classic novel Lord of the Flies, now at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, is aimed at a youthful audience; the ensemble of actors (adults playing teenage boys) brings the drama to life with striking visuals and an insistent rock and hip-hop soundtrack designed by Matthew M. Nielson. Older viewers may prefer the original novel, with its gradually building horror, to the relentless pressure of Nigel Williams' stage adaptation.

Director Blake Robison has worked closely with scenic and lighting designer Kevin Rigdon to create an uninhabited island out of the abstract elements of a simple ramp and open space downstage. The 11 cast members are seldom at rest, whether charging at a wild pig or cutting loose in frenzied dances choreographed by Kelly Mayfield.

The boys, survivors of a plane crash during a war, have been evacuated from British prep schools, and most wear school ties and jackets with crests. The exception is plump, bespectacled Piggy (Craig Pattison), whose jersey sets him apart from the others. (His name also provides a heavy-handed bit of foreshadowing.) Piggy allies himself with Ralph (the dynamic Alexander Strain), who wants to establish order on the island, while Jack (supercilious Evan Casey), a snidely superior school prefect and choir leader, tries to challenge Ralph for dominance.

The other characters tend to blur into each other, such as the twins Sam (Michael Grew) and Eric (Kyle Schliefer); Simon (Matt Farabee), whose hallucinations lead to trouble; and the younger Perceval (Sean McCoy). As staged by Robison and Mayfield, they are more impressive as a group than in smaller scenes.

One strength of Rigdon's production design is the innovative way he incorporates the realistic elements into this non-representational setting. A conch shell found on the beach has a dull, metallic sheen, and the illusion of fire erupts from pinpoint lights, projections, and stage fog.

Round House Theatre
Lord of the Flies
April 2nd 27th
Adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams, from the novel by William Golding
Piggy: Craig Pattison
Ralph: Alexander Strain
Jack: Evan Casey
Simon: Matt Farabee
Sam: Michael Grew
Eric: Kyle Schliefer
Henry: Abe Cruz
Maurice: Clay Steakley
Bill: Ryan Nealy
Roger: Patrick Elliott
Perceval: Sean McCoy
Directed by Blake Robison
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-644-1100 or www.roundhousetheatre.org


Photo: Danisha Crosby


-- Susan Berlin


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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