‘This term's Lent production of Save Our Souls took the audience on a haunting and terrifying journey into the dark heart of humanity.
Adapted from William Golding's The Lord of the Flies, this Cokethorpe performance incorporated a cast of 53 to depict the story of how children might respond to an absence of order and the results were electrifying.
The extraordinary set contained a plane wing, palm trees, burrows, a lookout and a hanging corpse. The lighting captured alien worlds of tropical heat and moonlit murder. This was complemented by the wonderful sound design created by Cokethorpe alumni Zoe Mace (OC Harcourt, 2012), whose blend of scarifying drone and distant choirs perfectly reflected this clash of worlds and unbridled menace.
As an ensemble the cast were superb, brilliantly portraying the group dynamic of shoaling for safety and intimidation, but never at the expense of their well-rounded individual characters. Some of the scenes depicting the tribal violence of mob mentality were genuinely terrifying as the Hunters dominated the island, daubed in blood and sniffing out weakness. The central performances were quite astonishing with Louisa Flaherty (Fourth Form, Harcourt) as the controlling Merridew and Izzy Ponsford (Fourth Form, Gascoigne) and Anna Wallace (Fourth Form, Swift) as her unhinged and violent lieutenants. This all-female cadre of aggressive manipulators placed an interesting twist on the original story, allowing the audience to experience simmering tensions and clashing relationships.
Gabriel Cox (Lower Sixth, Vanbrugh) was excellent as the sympathetic Ralph, leading his party through survival and heartache. The murder of his character's brother, played by his genuine brother Orlando Cox (Third Form, Vanbrugh), was particularly poignant. Lizzie Allen (Lower Sixth, Vanbrugh), Laurel Mulloy (Lower Sixth, Swift) and Ellie McBride (Lower Sixth, Gascoigne) all gave passionate performances, but it was Grace Bartle's (Fourth Form, Harcourt) depiction of the tragic ‘Piggy’ which mesmerised the audience. Her emotional maturity in bringing to life a difficult character was breathtaking, and her symbolic authority as the voice of reason, cut short by violence and rage had audience members in tears.
This was a thought-provoking and unsettling production which marks the arrival of some astonishing new talent at Cokethorpe. This amazing feat after just five weeks production time is due to the marvellous professionalism of the cast, crew and all of those involved. Despite the violence depicted on stage, never has there been a more harmonious collective behind the scenes. Pupils from all year groups worked together with high spirits and great humour and the results were astonishing.’
-Mr T Walwyn (Director)