LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
adapted by Jack Thorne from the novel and film by John Ajvide Linqvist.
Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs) Sloane Square SW1W 8AS To 21 December 2013.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm; Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Audio described 21 Dec 21 2.30pm.
Captioned 17 Dec.
Runs: 1hr 35min No interval.
TICKETS 020 7565 5000.
www.royalcourttheatre.co.uk (many performances sold out).
Review: Carole Woddis 5 December.
Blood, love and wonder.
Innocence and horror, beauty and the beast, the National Theatre of Scotland and Swedish gothic. All these and more are wrapped up in this latest stunner from north of the Border.
What is it about the NTS that seems to produce such startling, original work? And what is it about the Scandinavians, particularly the Swedes (Wallender, The Killing) that seems to produce so many thrillers and variations on gothic themes?
Whatever it is, we should be grateful we’re the happy recipients.
All the same, John Tiffany’s transcendent production in Jack Thorne’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel should carry a health warning. There is a moment of such blood-curdling terror towards the end even hardened press and guests gasped at the shock.
Yet shock-horror and coup de theatre, though piercing, are not this remarkable evening’s presiding emotion. Despite the cruelty – horrific bullying, vampirism, murder most foul – what you bring away instead is an overpowering sense of sympathy and wonder.
Lindqvist’s extraordinary tale suggests a dizzying number of interpretations, for all the simplicity and directness of Thorne’s classic narrative involving a serial killer on the loose in a wood and a lonely boy bullied by his school mates.
You could take your pick of psychological or symbolic possibilities. Love as possession, filial taboos, rites of passage (for the male, physical and sporting prowess and for the female, literally blood-letting). Not to mention the woods themselves as the emetic site of healing and discovery.
Add the purifying presence of water (although even this is compromised by our hero, Oskar practically drowning in it) and the story bursts at the seams with allegorical meanings.
Yet Tiffany’s dream-like production, touching on both fantasy and the mundanity of everyday life, creates a sense of rare theatrical purity, augmented by the atmospheric soundscape of Icelandic musician, Ôlafur Arnalds.
Among an immaculate ensemble, Martin Quinn gives a gorgeous study of bashful, unaffected sincerity with Rebecca Benson as Eli, the girl next door whose unhappiness and bloodthirsty predilections confuse even her.
In an unexpected ending, they journey off together in another visual coup. Brilliant ending, brilliant show.
Eli: Rebecca Benson.
Jonny: Graeme Dalling.
Kurt/Jocke/Nils/Dad/Stefan: Paul Thomas Hickey.
Halmberg/Mr Avila: Stephen McCole.
Torkel/Janne/Jimmy: Angus Miller.
Micke: Cristian Ortega.
Oskar: Martin Quinn.
Hakan: Ewan Stewart.
Oskar’s Mum: Susan Vidler.
Director: John Tiffany.
Associate Director: Steven Hoggett.
Music: Ôlafur Arnalds.
Designer/Costume: Christine Jones.
Lighting: Chahine Yavroyan.
Sound: Gareth Fry.
Costume: Aileen Sherry.
Special FX: Jeremy Chernick.
Assistant director: Justin Martin.
Associate movement: Vicki Manderson.
Design associate: Tim McQuillen-Wright.
A National Theatre of Scotland by arrangement with Marla Rubin Productions Ltd & Bill Kenwright production in association with the Royal Court.
Let The Right One In was commissioned by the National Theatre Scotland and Marla Rubin Productions Ltd and first produced by the NTS by arrangement with Marla Rubin Productions Ltd & Bill Kenwright in association with Dundee Rep Theatre, at Dundee Rep Theatre, 5 June 2013.
First performance at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Sloane Square, London was on 29 November 2013.