Lord of the Flies
Posted: 12 Nov 2014
Matthew Bourne Ballet
Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Seeing a Matthew Bourne ballet is like choosing a chocolate
without looking at the box. You might get a hazelnut cluster (my favourite) or
a coffee (does anyone like them?) but whatever materialises it will be a
Tickets weren’t cheap, and four people from my row didn’t
reappear after the 48-minute first act so clearly some of the audience felt
they’d chosen the coffee. Bourne’s ballets break with the expected – and Lord
of the Flies is no exception. Based on William Golding’s classic novel
concerning the disintegration from civilisation when a group of schoolboys are
marooned on an island, the story provides ample scope for the choreography to
bring out the drama.
It’s exciting stuff and, fittingly for what is a well-worn
school text, this production has more than a touch of the ‘Billy Elliott’ about
As explained in the post-show talk, this show is coming to
the end of a 10-month run where, at each venue, the nucleus of professionals
have been enhanced by a number of local dancers, some of whom have no previous
experience. As a result, the performances remain fresh and the energy is raw.
As with the Matthew Bourne ‘Scottish ballet’ I saw in St.
Petersburg in June, this was a remarkable performance where the pace never
slackens. On that occasion I was accompanied by a Canadian who’d never been to
ballet before and loved it. So even if you’re a traditional ballet enthusiast,
be brave and go and see a Matthew Bourne performance – as long as you’re
willing to take a mystery dip into the chocolate box.