I was sat next to two die-hard fans of Let The Right One In tonight. Not the theatre version though, I’m speaking of the 2008 Swedish movie by John Lindqvist. Both suggested that I watch the movie before writing my review of the production but I’ve cautiously avoided that, in order to determine an original view of the latest offering at the Apollo Theatre.
Adaptations for the stage can be a tricky game – some follow the steps of War Horse whilst others fail – but this vision from The National Theatre of Scotland has been executed strongly from every aspect.
Oskar and Eli meet in the dangerous woods just off of town where brutal murders have recently taken place. Oskar’s loneliness means that he finds an instant connection and friend in Eli, but things start to become difficult when we realise that she isn’t human and feasts off blood. Her roommate and apparent stalker, Hakan, does not like seeing the two getting along so well; whilst Oskar’s school mates are adamant on making his life a living misery. Stunningly designed, amazingly acted and immensely choreographed, John Tiffany’s production is a pleasant mix of gore, romance and the Scottish accent.
LTROI manages to create a very dark, uncomfortable and eery atmosphere at the Apollo Theatre. Using the right type of music, the audience are taken from red light to green, and back, within seconds. What surprised me most was how involved I felt in the story; to the extent that I had to hold back tears during the jaw-dropping swimming pool scene. To be able to achieve such a high quality of physical theatre and still challenge your emotions is what makes this good story a great production. Rebecca Benson’s performance as Eli reminded me of Simon from Misfit: peculiar, charming and terrifying. I was very impressed with the trio of bullies who made the events look and feel believable. Martin Quinn was excellent as Oskar and you can tell that he dug deep to get into the skin of his character. One drawback of the play was the addition of the police character which seemed unnecessary. Furthermore, whilst I was in love with the choice of music, the tech team could do by turning the music down a tad; especially during the scenes where the stage is blacked out.
I remember feeling disappointed when I couldn’t get tickets to the Royal Court production a few years ago and it’s clear to see why it sold out within hours last time around. It may make you jump, it might make you cry and it’ll definitely have you entertained. Jack Thorne’s Let The Right One In is an excellent choice to reopen one of the best theatres of the West End.
Review by Sahil Jon
Let The Right One In
Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Age Restrictions: Suitable for ages 13+
Show Opened: 26th March 2014
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.45pm
Matinees: Thursday and Saturday 3.00pm
Saturday 5th April 2014