Based on a Swedish romantic horror novel and film by John Ajvide Lindqvist,‘Let the Right One In’ has a story that writer Jack Thorne couldn’t help but sink his teeth into. From now until September, his stage adaptation of the fang-tastic thriller will be haunting the Apollo Theatre on the infamous Shaftesbury Avenue.
It’s an intimate venue; perfect for the tender, sensitive moments portrayed by main characters Eli (played by Rebecca Benson) and Oskar (played by Martin Quinn). Whereas the original novel and film are set in Stockholm, Thorne takes the audience into an unnamed Scottish town where bullied by his peers, schoolboy Oskar lives with his alcoholic mother in a sleepy suburb.
A dark forest floor blanketed with snow is where much of the narrative is explored and most importantly, where Oskar meets his new neighbour Eli who has been observing him silently from the shadows. Awkward, goofy Oskar and strange, mysteriously detached Eli form a devoted friendship in a world where the lives of the characters are shrouded with loneliness.
The first half of Let The Right One In is dreamlike. Largely dominated by the softly spoken dialogue from the two protagonists, they meet in secret as their bond grows into an unbreakable loyalty. Parallel to this however, we see how Eli’s struggles are anything but typical of a ‘normal’ 12 year old girl. In fact, Eli is not a girl at all…..
The second half of the production gains momentum with smooth scene changes, dance and dialogue, achieving a nightmarish intensity. Culminating in disturbing scenes, stunning visual effects and the talent of both Benson and Quinn in particular, the closing moments force gasps of shock from the mouths of the audience as the play reaches its horrifying climax.
Definitely not for the faint hearted, Let the Right One In is a must see. With complex character relationships and plenty of bloodcurdling twists and turns, the play explores the themes of love, loneliness and legend with the perfect balance between tenderness and terror.
I can’t wait to watch the film.
‘I’m not that. I live on blood. But I am not… that…
Can I come in?’