April 15 2015 01:16 PM

Stage adaption of classic novel gains late speed

Lord of the Flies
Photo by Daren Scott

Like William Golding's 1954 novel, obligatory reading for every high school English student, Nigel Williams' 1991 stage adaptation of Lord of the Flies founders a bit until the young boys stranded on an island turn savage. In spite of all the obvious symbolism—inherent in the novel and in the theatrical adaptation as well—it's fascinating to watch the transformations, shocking and gruesome as they are.

New Village Arts has undertaken a production of Lord of the Flies, directed by the Carlsbad theater's Justin Lang and starring 11 teenagers (including NVA Artistic Director Kristianne Kurner's son, Jonah Gercke, easily the best of the bunch). Talky and slow-going in the first act (there are two intermissions), NVA's Lord of the Flies picks up the pace and heightens in intensity thereafter. Director Lang frequently moves the boys around on the stage, which mitigates some of the play's static, stuck-on-an-island atmosphere. And Kate Bishop's costumes for the boys gone wild evoke the fictional mini-world's loss of control.

Neither film (there have been several) nor apparently stage has been able to give Golding's novel its due, but in any medium Lord of the Flies beats any Survivor episode all to hell.

Lord of the Flies runs through May 3 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. $23-$42; newvillagearts.org

People who need people to tend to the mini-mall they have in the cellar of their Malibu estate are the luckiest people in the world. Or so the premise of Jonathan Tolins' Buyer & Cellar would have us believe. Now, Barbra Streisand really does have facsimiles of shops, stocked with her own belongings, underneath her mansion. That much is true. What is fictionalized in Tolins' one-man play, currently earning laughs at the expense of Hollywood excess at The Old Globe's theater in the round, is the notion of a struggling actor (David Turner) tending Barbra's shops, and getting to know the misunderstood star in a way he never expected (though a savvy audience will). Even if you couldn't care less about Streisand and divadom, this is an inarguably funny show. Turner plays multiple characters (including Barbra) without high camp but with lots of stamina and heart. Buyer & Cellar runs through May 10 at The Old Globe Theatre's Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park. $29 and up. oldglobe.org

Write to davidc@sdcitybeat.com.


Becoming Dr. Ruth: The story of the world's most famous sexologist is told in this one-woman show from playwright Mark St. Germain. It opens for three performances on Friday, April 17, at Community Actor's Theatre in Oak Park. trinityttc.org

Les Misérables: The musical story of an ex-convict trying to outrun his past against the backdrop of 19th century France. Presented by Star Repertory Theatre, it opens Friday, April 17, at The AVO Playhouse in Vista. starrepertorytheatre.com

Baby: A staged reading of the hit Broadway musical about a college couple, as well as a sordid cast of characters, dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Presented by Carlsbad Playreaders, it happens at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, at the Schulman Auditorium in the Carlsbad Library. carlsbadplayreaders.org

5-Minute Play Festival: Staged readings of short plays dealing with Jewish culture by local and national talent. Takes place Monday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Encinitas Library. sdcjc.org 

Now Playing:

Sea of Souls: In this dramatic musical, a young folk-singer tries to find her biological mother in a small West Virginia town. Presented by Ion Theatre, it runs through April 18 at the URBN CNTR 4THE ARTS in Hillcrest. iontheatre.com

Seussical, Jr.: A family-friendly musical where all of the characters of Dr. Seuss share the stage at the same time. Presented by Visionary Youth Theatre, it runs through April 18 at Visionary Performance Space in La Mesa. visionarydancetheatre.org

The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode: Diversionary Cabaret presents this comical spoof of the 80s sitcom. Through April 19 at Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org

Rhinoceros: In playwright Eugene Ionesco's Theater of the Absurd work, a post-World War II comment on conformity, the inhabitants of a French town transform into rhinoceroses one by one. Through April 19 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com

Sunset Park: A widow's Brooklyn apartment building is going co-op, and her adult children sow conflict when they see an opportunity to profit. Presented by Scripps Ranch Theatre, it runs through April 19 at Legler Benbough Theatre in Scripps Ranch. scrippsranchtheatre.org

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992: Examines the 1992 L.A. riots with a series of monologues recounting the personal stories of people who were there. Through April 19 at the Can State San Marcos Performance Hall. csusm.edu/sofa

My Fair Lady: A man attempts to turn a rough-around-the-edges girl into something more sophisticated—and then develops the hots for her. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through April 26 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com

The 39 Steps: Written by Alfred Hitchcock, the two-time Tony Award winner mixes romance and comedy with the suspense of a spy thriller. Through April 26 at the Welk Resorts Theater in Escondido. welkresorts.com

The White Snake: A play based on a Chinese fable about a snake that turns into a woman, falls in love and runs afoul of a mean ol' monk. Through April 26 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org

The Pirates of Penzance: Nine actors stranded on a desert island perform Gilbert and Sullivan's classic comic opera. Through April 29 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.com

The Balcony: Originally written by French political activist Jean Genet, this play tells the story of a dystopian society where people are controlled by corporations. Presented by Chronos Theatre Group, it runs through May 3 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center in Downtown. chronostheatre.com

Boeing Boeing: In this comical farce by Marc Camoletti, a scheming bachelor finds himself engaged to three different flight attendants only to find one day they're all scheduled to arrive at his apartment at the same time. Through May 3 at Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com

Buyer & Cellar: A hit Off Broadway comedy about an unemployed actor who becomes Barbara Streisand's personal shopkeeper. It runs through May 3 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org

The Hallelujah Girls: The aging ladies of a small Southern town band together to improve their lives after losing a friend. Through May 3 at the Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa. lamplighterslamesa.com

Lord of the Flies: A group of young boys regress into warring savages when their plan crash-lands on a deserted island. Adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams, it runs through May 3 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org

Parallel Lives: Two women play 40 different characters in this sketch-style satire. Presented by Talent to aMuse Theatre Company, it runs through May 3 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center Forum Theatre in Downtown. talenttoamuse.com

Uncanny Valley: Set 40 years in the future, this world premiere play centers on a neuroscientist working to give humans immortality by downloading their thoughts and memories into an A.I. being. Through May 10 at Lyceum Space at Horton Plaza in Downtown. sdrep.org

Unnecessary Farce: A comical tale of an embezzling mayor trying to outrun his accountant, the law, and a couple of hitmen. Through May 10 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org

Freud's Last Session: A fictional meeting between renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and novelist C.S. Lewis results in a lively discussion about love, war, sex and everything in between. Through May 17 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: In a musical based on a biblical tale, a dude who has an "amazing" garment becomes a slave, but he triumphs in Egypt regardless. Presented by Lamb's Players Theatre, it runs through May 31 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. lambsplayers.org


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