Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bourne's "Lord of the Flies" at Bradford: good though not quite my cup of tea

William Golding
Photo Wikipedia

New Adventures' Lord of the Flies closed in Bradford to a standing ovation  though it has to be said in an auditorium that was a good deal less than full. I was one of the few members of the audience who did not stand up on Saturday evening. Neither did I cheer. But I did clap. For although the show was not quite my cup of tea it was good.

Based closely on the novel by William Golding about a group of schoolboys on a desert island who descend into savagery when left to their own devices. it was far from comfortable to watch. The cast was of course all male and many of the dancers had been recruited from local schools. An on-line form on New Adventures ' website explains:
"Lord of the Flies is a unique project that will bring together professional dancers from our company and young male dancers from the regions in which we will present the production. Over the coming months each regional venue will be launching large-scale community outreach programmes to find the young men to be in the show. We are interested to hear from young men aged between 10 - 25 year old. No previous experience of dance is necessary. "
The main characters were Ralph, Piggy and Jack danced respectively by Sam Archer, Sam Plant and Danny Reubens of New Adventures. They all performed well and I think I would have liked to have seen more of those principals had the story and choreography permitted.

The score by Terry Davies fitted the story very well. There was a lot of percussion and rhythm. The choreography which had to be within the capability of schoolboys with no previous experience of dance while allowing the principals to shine was devised cleverly by Scott Ambler. Lez Bretherson made ingenious use of hampers and clothes rails as props.

The show was dramatic, well produced and well danced. For the children who took part it must have been a wonderful experience. Nureyev, Acosta, Polunin and indeed Bourne himself had already eroded much of the the prejudice against dance for boys. Shows like this bury it for ever and for that alone it deserves to be commended.

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