Let the Right One In – reviews of 'spellbinding' vampire play

Apr 10, 2014

Scottish adaptation of Scandi-horror tale 'chills and thrills' critics with West End transfer

Manuel Harlan

What you need to know
Vampire drama Let the Right One In has transferred to the Apollo Theatre, West End. Jack Thorne's stage adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's cult Swedish novel and film was first staged by the National Theatre of Scotland and then the Royal Court.

Thorne's stage version shifts the action from Sweden to the Scottish Highlands, where a lonely, bullied schoolboy, Oskar, falls for the eerie new girl next door, Eli, and must pay a terrible price for his love.

John Tiffany directs Martin Quinn and Rebecca Benson, reprising their original roles as Oskar and Eli. Runs until 27 September.

What the critics like
Tiffany's staging of this Swedish vampire tale is "exquisitely beautiful and heartbreakingly sad", says Lyn Gardner in The Guardian. This painfully tender production does not shirk the ambiguities of the story, its comic potential or its lingering tragedies.

This stage version of Lindqvist's vampiric fable is "every bit as good as the original Swedish movie", says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. There is no lack of chills and thrills and it wrings a work of genuine artistry and depth of feeling from the schlocky vampire genre.

Tiffany's "spellbinding production" has a strangely surreal air, says Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times. But for all its weirdness, this is a tender love story between two outsiders, beautifully played by Martin Quinn and Rebecca Benson.

What they don't like
This may well draw in the adolescent crowds that the West End needs, but haven't we "supped full of vampire sagas"? asks Kate Bassett in The Times. Also Thorne's dialogue can sound bald, and the bullying isn't wholly convincing, making this staging less scary than it should be.

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