Thursday 19 December 2013

Let The Right One In, Royal Court Theatre

Twilight, Schmilight. If it’s vampires you’re after, they’re to be found at The Royal Court in Jack Thorne’s adaptation of Let The Right One In. Better take your garlic and crosses – this could get messy.

If the title is ringing a bell, that’s probably because you’ve either seen the 2008 movie, or read the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Well, I haven’t done either, but after years of hearing about it, I was excited to finally go see what all the fuss was about.

Oskar is the epitome of lonely a teenage boy. From a dysfunctional broken home, he has no friends and no girlfriend… but that might be about to change. Oskar meets his new neighbour Eli, and despite her being little, weird, and a bit smelly, the two hit it off. But outside of the Oskar-Eli bubble, brutal killings are taking place in the woods nearby, with innocent people being butchered for their blood. Coincidence, or are Oskar’s growing suspicions of Eli correct?

Although originally Scandinavian (was the author’s name enough of a hint?), Thorne has set the play in Scotland, and though it may sound surprising, it absolutely works. The names work, the costumes work, the environment works - in fact it was the colloquial and lively accents and dialect that helped lift the story from horror into only slightly disturbing. It’s got the great cult feel. It’s not a great epic tale, but in those few hours there was no lack of interest or action. At times it did just happily plod along – then of course, there was that moment when we all jumped about a foot in the air.

I adored the staging and choreography. Props effortlessly morphed from one scene into another, as did the script, which gave the sense of dreamlike fantasy that the play needed. In its most gory scene, the cello and violin soundtrack made the bloodshed into something beautiful, without holding anything back.

Let The Right One In was not only Jack Thorne’s Royal Court debut, but a stage debut for Martin Quinn who played Oskar. He’s an absolute natural, and actually seemed the most relaxed and at home of all the cast. A special mention has to be made for Rebecca Benson too. The role of Eli not only requires your usual acting talents, but there’s a great physical demand too. From exorcist fits to violent brawls with a stocky six-foot man, her performance was incredible.

Now that I’ve hopefully done a good job of convincing you to go, I’m sorry to announce that Let The Right One In is sold out! However, I would definitely suggest keeping in the know about what’s on at The Royal Court; if this performance is anything to judge the new directorship by, there’ll be great things to come, and with £10 Monday tickets available, there’s no excuse not to go. I’ll also be keeping an eye out for Jack Thorne. Apparently he’ll be releasing a screen adaptation of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down, one of my favourite authors, next year.

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