With my friend Marisa from New York here and wanting to see as much theatre as possible, We set out to see what shows we could find on a budget. Marisa had heard great things from friends about ‘Let the Right One In’, so rocking up to the box office around 4pm we managed to secure £15 day seats, in the front row.
Not really knowing it was about vampires until after the tickets were purchased ( her friends neglected to tell her this ). Were we in store for a Twilight musical.. ? Also turns out its based on a swedish film, I’m not really up on my swedish cinema.
It was amazing cold when we walked in, and sitting in the front row meant we had to put our jackets on straight away and occasionally had to rub up against the person sitting next to us to get warm. I’m a firm believer of ‘don’t wear your jacket inside so you feel the benefit when you put it on outside’, but in this case, screw the benefit it was cold!!!. Turns out it was all part of the show and making it ‘immersive theatre’, set mainly in the snowy woods with fake snow all over the stage like we were inside a snow globe. The low temperature setting not only helped with the visual of the snow but with the show also being about vampires ( cold blooded ) I can imagine this was a very clever link as well to having the temperature set to baltic. The scenery and stage were minimalistic with hardly any scenery and fancy light changes etc but I feel that this was the perfect choice for the show. If it has used big and glamorous set pieces it would have taken away from the rawness of the show and this allowed us to focus more on the story and acting.
Seeing that is was the same Director – John Tiffany and Associate Director( Movement director) – Steven Hoggett as for the show ‘Once’ I could really see a lot of similarities. ‘Once’ breaks the fourth wall with having an active bar on stage before the show and in the intermission and contains some of the most amazing beautiful choreography. All stemming form pedestrian movements with such beautiful nuisances I was really excited to see how that would be added to Let The Right One In.
Let the right One In starts without the audience even realising as they slowly filtering into the auditorium. Members of the cast walk the ‘woods’ portraying characters in the midst of winter etc. There was a lot of similarities with little dance breaks, intricate little nuisances and the ensemble moving as one. Although in this production I almost felt that it was a side step in the story. It was beautiful but in ‘Once’ I felt the choreography helped move the story along, where in this show I Feel that although it was beautiful it didn’t add to the show or narrative, it just kept it where it was – so not sure if it was needed.
Oskar, played by Martin Quinn was the stand out performance for me. Able to portray the youthful and playfulness of a teenage but giving you emotional depth and humour too. He was really relatable and in every scene his commitment to character and ability level was consistent. Oskar’s Mum, Susan Vilder was also an enjoyable performance. Showing the struggles of being a single parent and how alcohol can really effect your relationships.
So firstly let me put it out there, it must be very hard having to play a forever young vampire girl, trying to hide from the general masses but still have human and child needs. Not your typical character drama exercise while at theatre college. So with that in Mind I found it hard to critic the performance by Rebecca Benson – who played the part of Eli. For me, I guess growing up on shows like Buffy etc I would presume you could play it more human ( as realistic as Buffy was haha) years of human experience and trying to hide, I think would let a ‘Vampire’ be able to hide almost in plain sight !?! (minus the burring in sunlight thing). Acting is a lot about choices and some of the choices she made I liked but I wasn’t sure of her choice when it came to her voice for the character. Also I found it hard to see her movements as that of a graceful weightless vampire – but I understand that unless you find someone of a gymnast/actress background it would be hard to embody that. I did however enjoy the intriguing connection between Eli and what you originally thought was her father, Jonny played by Graeme Dalling. It was also very clever how it comes around full circle and foreshadowing on what will happen to Oskar and Eli….
The use of Blood made the idea of Vampirism a lot more realistic and though it had its moments of being quite gory( blood spurting all over the place) I think it was a much needed touch. Although not sure if you could take a child or young teenage to the show.
The music seemed to me, to be more fitting for a cinematic presentation rather then a play, with quite loud borderline club music. It was an interesting show, I am glad I went and saw a show that I probably would not have seen off of my own back. Theatre is subjective so i’m firmly sitting on the fence with this one