In the usual order of things, the warning that something is “not for the faint hearted” would come at the end of a review. However, when it comes to this play, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, it seems fitting to preface with a momentary health warning.
Let the Right One In is a story that, in the last 10 years, has gone through several adaptations, with each new iteration borrowing from the last. Anyone who has seen either of the film adaptations (2008’s Let the Right One In, or the dubious 2010 American remake, Let Me In) will recognize the shape of the jungle gym around which most of the action in this production revolves. It must be said, however, that the production/writing team of Jack Thorne and John Tiffany certainly brings a vitality and magic to this tale. For the theatre-goer, it was enjoyable to see such a talented team get to exercise their skills on adapting a text which such emotional and narrative complexity.
The story at the heart of Let the Right One In is, by turns, as tender as it is deeply disturbing, and visually, this production brings to life the brutality and the delicacy of the original text. The relationship between Oskar (Craig Connolly) and Eli (Katie Honan) is played out without being over-played. On a whole, the cast honour the eerie atmosphere of the story, with naturalistic performances juxtaposed against the stark background of the set.
That being said, the set design of this production is something that cannot go without mention. From beginning to end, the acting is choreographed to within an inch of its life through this set, with the actors working within it like a well-oiled machine. The complexity and scale of what is achieved on that stage cannot be underestimated, and certainly, this is a production that no one can afford to miss.
|by Síofra Ní Shluaghadháin|