REVIEW: Let The Right One In by Jack Thorne adapted from John Lindqvist
Brooding mood and a consistency of style and pace characterised Matt Turpin’s and Zo Morgan’s production of vampire and human love. The look of the piece was stark and cold. Lighting (Jonathan Richardson) darkened the atmosphere further with shadows, half-light, shafts of light, and only occasional brightness. Threatening music waxed and waned, never allowing us to think all might be well, continuously hinting of the next blood-letting, and helping to link the (overly?) episodic script. A simple solid looking split-level set cemented the elements together and was used creatively throughout.
At the centre were Eli (Annabel Turpin) and Oskar (Jasper Hill). He was an awkward bullied teenager, perhaps autistic, perhaps just the product of a disagreeable life. She, on the other hand, had the confidence born of an eternity of youth, strength, beauty and, well, ….of being a vampire. Both gave us well defined characters, two lost souls, attracted to each other in spite of themselves, and finding moments of humour, and happiness together. Annabel Turpin’s vampire could switch from playful childishness to gross violence. She moved us with her loyalty to Oskar, and by her sometimes vicious sense of natural justice, meted out with alarming, but impressive, physicality and gore.
The impact of their love was the story. Peter Mould, grim faced previous amour, is now old but still devoted, willing to kill others and disfigure himself for Eli. His opening jaw lined silhouette was a well-crafted moment. The bullies (Rowan Ringrose, Charlie Abrahams, and Christopher Febrer) are suitably nasty pieces of work; a continuum of half-hearted accomplice, through text book bully to brutal psychopath. Halmberg (Peter Charles Miller), is an endearingly earnest detective, who should not have pursued his instincts – more blood. Nick Griffith and Charlotte Eastes were Oskar’s separated parents, each with their own issues, but who did at least avoid a sticky end.
The production team successfully dealt with a fair amount of blood that dripped, squirted and pooled when required. Whether one was convinced by the story or liked the visceral feel, there was a strong sense of a well-considered and thorough approach to everything. The look, the music, the lighting, the special effects, including macabre film sequence, and even the slightly hesitant speech of the main characters, gave this show a deliberately unsettling feel. The directors had consummately stamped their mark; it was not necessarily pleasant but it was bloody well done.