Lord of the Flies

Previewed 3 September 2015, Opened 5 September 2015, Closed 12 September 2015 at the Open Air Theatre in London

The return of Timothy Sheader's 2011 staging of William Golding's Lord of the Flies to London for a strictly limited season of just 14 performances at the Open Air Theatre prior to a major UK tour.

After a group of schoolboys survive a massive plane crash, what starts as a classic desert island adventure quickly becomes a struggle for survival as superstition and immorality sees the community slide into a darkly sinister world. William Golding's groundbreaking and disturbing novel has been adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams.

Directed by Timothy Sheader with co-direction by Liam Steel and designs by Jon Bausor. This production was previously seen here at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park during May and June 2011. Timothy Sheader is the Artistic Director of the Open Air Theatre where his credits have included the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (2014), Arthur Miller's All My Sons (2014), Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird (2013, returned 2014, returned Barbican Theatre 2015) and Gershwin's Crazy For You (2011, transferred to Novello Theatre 2012). In the West End he directed the new musical Imagine This (New London Theatre 2008).

When this production was originally seen here at the Open Air Theatre in May 2011, Michael Coveney in the Independent praised "Timothy Sheader's tremendous two-hour production." Libby Purves in the Times described how "it is brilliantly staged around the lifesize wreckage of half a plane... Timothy Sheader marshals his young actors with great skill, and the movement is superb, as boyish high spirits and agility decline into primitivism and nasty fights... a remarkable evening." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph commented that it is "guaranteed to grip older children and adults alike from start to finish, Timothy Sheader's staging of Lord of the Flies is nothing less than a triumph... it beautifully traces the book's inexorable progression from the survivors' first dreamlike awareness of their situation into a demonic nightmare... unmissable." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times highlighted that "artistic director Timothy Sheader... and designer Jon Bausor use the space to stunning effect for Lord of the Flies... Sheader draws fine individual performances and great ensemble work from the cast, using choreographed sequences to punctuate the descent into madness and making strong use of stillness." Brian Logan in the Guardian wrote that "the production shows us the schoolboys' slide into brutality, but doesn't make it feel inexorable. But if the journey is hard to follow, its destination is spectacular." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard noted that "Jon Bausor's design comes to resemble an increasingly sinister adventure playground. Full marks for visual impact then, but the awkward truth is that the play, in Nigel Williams's classic 1995 adaptation, struggles to live up to the brilliance of its set." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail said that "Timothy Sheader's production turns it into a cinematic spectacle set around the carcass of a British Airways plane. This is Golding for a generation weaned on the U.S. TV drama Lost... Jon Bausor's eye-catching set confirms him as one of the most arresting designers around."

"Lord of the Flies, in which William Golding saw British society of the 1950s - outwardly decorous but red in tooth and claw - through the behaviour of schoolboys stranded on a tropical island has been adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams, and directed by Timothy Sheader. One aspect - the visual - is ideally suited to this theatre. In Jon Bausor's design, the arena begins by looking like a glade, a cultivated piece of a park, a pleasure to be in; as the night draws in, the surroundings look fiercer and more mysterious; the boys seen in twilight seem clean and eager; when the light fades, and their faces are painted, they look as if they might have been spawned by the undergrowth. A flash of white light makes the plane wreck glow like an icon; fire burns like a beacon. The storytelling doesn't measure up to these images." The Observer

"The designer Jon Bausor has re-created a plane-crash site with such startling verisimilitude for this stage adaptation of William Golding's 1954 allegorical novel that anyone with jitters about flying should steer well clear. Timothy Sheader's production, ringed by woods that become increasingly forbidding as the evening draws in, has the accumulating force of horror needed to pull off this story of schoolboy air-disaster survivors on an uninhabited island, who briefly taste a paradise that is soon lost as they descend into savagery." The Sunday Times

Lord of the Flies in London at the Open Air Theatre public previews from 3 September 2015, opens on 5 September 2015 and closes on 12 September 2015.