The Young Co, a division of the Singapore Repertory Theatre, made up of young thespians between the ages of 16 to 25, presents its graduation show, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, from 25th July to 28th July at the DBS Arts Centre - Home of SRT.
Directed by Daniel Jenkins and performed by past and present student actors from The Young Co, Lord of the Flies tells the tale of a bunch of male teenagers who find themselves stranded on an island, presumably after their plane crashes. The students initially celebrate being free from adults, until they realise they need rules and a leader to make sense of their island existence.
Ralph (Ethan Chia) and Jack (Bright Ong) tussle for leadership, which ends with a faction in the group. In time, Jack’s restless and raucous group of boys hunt and kill with abandon, while Ralph’s group of friends live in fear of Jack and his gang. Soon, Jack and his boys convince Ralph and his friends to kill animals and, in a fit of euphoria, one of the boys ends up getting killed instead. With the blood of one of their own on their hands now, the boys have to choose between being savages, or returning to their humanity.
Lord of the Flies is adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams, and although the theme of the original book carries well into the play, the dialogue at times seems repetitive, and the storyline seems too weak and narrow for a two hour stage play in modern times.
Having said that though, the young cast does indeed make the play rise above the page with their capable acting. Fresh from playing the lead in Toy Factory’s Equus, Ethan Chia is first billed for this play. Chia is a reasonably competent actor and portrays his Ralph as a nice homely teenager who’s later swept up by the hysterics of Jack’s group to partake in some questionable activities. Although, it will be nice if we can see Chia inject a little more colour and layers into his portrayal.
Instead, it is both Andrew Marko, who plays bespectacled plump boy Piggy and Bright Ong, who plays bad boy Jack, who steal the show and overshadow Chia. Marko and Ong both possess natural acting abilities that incorporate subtle layers into their performances, thereby giving nuance to their respective characters. From their varied delivery of dialogue to their range of expressions, both Marko and Ong have clearly showcased themselves as two actors who have plenty of innate talent. This reviewer foresees a bright future for these two thespians in the local acting scene.