The National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Let the Right One In was presented in London at the Royal Court Theatre from November 2013. Following this, John Tiffany’s production of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel and screenplay was adapted by theatre director, Jack Thorne and transferred to the West End.
Let the Right One In is an intriguing mix of childhood innocence, love and fantasy vampire stories yet in this cold-blooded production, it proves to be more than just a thrilling horror show. Audience members are treated to drama, fantastic contemporary music and scenes of unexpected shock. Yet they are also exposed to something even more refreshing that is not often observed in recent theatre shows but more in musicals: contemporary dance performances.
Rest assured, viewers have plenty of opportunities to jump off their seats to gore and visually striking scenes however, the show itself is never light on human emotion: childhood innocence and loneliness are experiences we are all too familiar with which is perhaps why Let the Right One In received multiple positive reviews from critics and theatre newbies.
Oskar (Martin Quinn,) a young teenager is often bullied by boys at his school. A growing number of killings have been taking place in his neighbourhood, which the town is made aware of, yet against his mother’s (Susan Vidler) warnings, Oskar goes outside fearless. As he wanders and plays on his own, he meets Eli (Rebecca Benson), a girl who had just moved in next door. They develop a friendship, which blooms into a young puppy love, but as Oskar becomes closer to Eli he realises that she is more than just a girl – she feeds on blood.
Benson exhibits the persona of Eli as a girl trying to understand herself in the body of a vampire. She sucks the blood of victims without thinking of the consequences but with Oskar she is entirely different. When Oskar offers to make a pact, he cuts his hand and offers it to Eli, which she aggressively pushes away from, fighting against her deeper vampiric appetites.
Benson gives a moving performance that makes her the centrepiece of the show. We see her adapt in various shapes and forms from a naïve girl to brutal murderer and monster, which send shivers down our spine.
Quinn displays the woes of growing up as a teenager through Oskar who encounters being bullied, struggles with the notion of love and deals with abandonment. He accompanies Benson in showing childhood naivety in its purest form, which exudes moments of happiness, carefreeness and longing.
Olafur Arnauld provides brilliant music to delightfully choreographed dances; dances which express feelings just as potent as words. Christine Jones manages to bring together a water tank onto the stage for a shocking death scene, which Eli manages without having to lift a finger.
If you fancy being surprised and do not mind seeing plenty of blood spill, this show should be on on your ‘next theatre performances to see’ list. I promise you won’t get any nightmares either.
Let the Right One In is showing until 30th August