Three years on from the original project developed by New Adventures, Lord Of The Flies is reborn... or maybe that should be Re:Bourne. The emerging talent programme from Matthew Bourne's New Adventures aims to nurture and support young people with a passion for movement. The idea is to break down possible perceptions that dance is often seen as unfathomable, elitist, over technical and intimidating, all whilst creating an inspiring piece of theatre, of course.
Choreographed by Olivier Award-nominated long-term company member Scott Ambler, this rework of William Golding's Lord of the Flies features professional dancers and 24 local boys. No longer set in the desert island, this appears to be some mystical world within the theatre itself. You come to expect with any Bourne production that the obvious is disregarded.
The lights crash out as a mass ensemble of smartly-dressed schoolboys enter. At first it's perhaps a little overwhelming, there's a lot going on and so much to look at but that's particularly important to the projects aims. Throughout the piece a 24-strong ensemble are featured just as much of the smaller cast of professional dancers. They're not support or backing just to fill out the space, they're very much involved and expertly take on Ambler's thrilling choreography. At first they're great at the synchronised movement but as the plot twists and darkens these boys that had first enjoyed freedom turn savage and it's especially interesting once given the opportunity for greater experimentation of movement.
The freedom and opportunity for creativity is perfect here, for it's there within the story. It's one that is relevant to young boys and they are much more likely to identify with this than some fluffy fairytale. The whole piece is cleverly conceived - it becomes difficult to distinguish between professional and local dancers, it's edgy, it's rough, it's nothing like you've seen before, but it works and music by Terry Davies is compelling - almost hypnotic. The original story is excitingly reimagined in a style that's most unique, a blend of ballet, contemporary and an imagination native to this company. The excellent local ensemble are lead by professionals Jack Hazelton as Maurice and Danny Reubens as Jack who, with extreme strength and skilful storytelling ability command the stage and on many occasions leave you transfixed.
60 years since the original publication of the novel, it's perfect timing for a celebration. Not only a celebration of the classic tale but of the boys, all of whom will be the minority in their dance classes and here they're given their time to shine and what better stage than at Birmingham Hippodrome. By the curtain call, it was most clear that this was something very special to both the cast and the audience of almost full capacity. It's madness, it's genius and a difficult experience to sum up. Go and see it and you'll understand. See Lord Of The Flies at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 17 May, book here.
Cast List: Jack Hazelton, Sam Archer, Leon Moran, Luke Murphy, Dominic North, Sam Plant, Danny Reubens, Layton Williams, Dan Wright, Will Cornish, Khalid Daley, Ethan Daly, Jack Dologhan, Joel Fossard-Jones, Jacob Goodchild, Brad Guest, Tom Hammond, Dereece Leigh-Gayle, Declan Lewis, Fenton Lockley, Alexander Love, Enrique Ngbokota, Harry Ondrak-Wright, Callum Osbourne, Zach Parkin, Harvey Powell, Ben Powney, Nat Sweeney, Hugo Von Fragstein, Louis Williams, Chris Wilson.