Director: Clare Watson
Original Story by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Cast: Ian Michael, Sophia Forrest, Stuart Halusz, Rory O’Keeffe, Clarence Ryan
Let The Right One In has once been described as Romeo and Juliet… with fangs.
After all, two movies and a novel, and a TV series that didn’t pass the pilot stage can’t entirely be wrong. Now, it is told once again, on the stage.
For those who aren’t familiar with the source material, the year is 1981, and somewhere in the suburb of Blackeberg (though in this instance inha, a serial killer is loose, leaving a trail of cold bodies in the wake. Everyone is terrified, including Oskar, a shy 12- year old (played by a very much adult Ian Michael) who is constantly tormented at school by bullies. One night he has a chance meeting with a young girl named Eli (played by a very much adult Sophia Forrest, and they begin to grow incredibly close to one another.
The staging is unique, with the performance taking across 9 mini-stages designed to look like an apartment block, which is a nice, aesthetic touch. The apartment block stage also doubles up as a screen for the performance’s audio-visual elements, so the economist in me really appreciates it. The performances are decent at best- functional, if unremarkable. The on-stage violence did elicit more laughter than it did a sense of terror, although this may have nothing to do with the performance entirely. The play’s limited use of lighting grounded the scene with a sense of tension simmering throughout.
Why certain plays insist on having dance sequences to loud blaring 80s soundtrack eludes me, but the number of these in between scenes is very detracting to the foreboding mood that the play spends most of its runtime setting up (I know it needs to establish a 1980s setting, but I don’t think specific time and dates are necessary for this story- as the American adaptation attests)- and also would save some time. That said for the rest of the moments where effects are used are well done, and elicited some gasps of approval, such as the underwater scene.
Is it right to Let The Right One In into your heart and savour the theatre like it was pure, clean blood? It really depends on how hungry you are for theatre. The meal may sate, but may also not fill, so it’s worth thinking before you tuck in.