Skip to main content

Review of Let The Right One In at the Apollo Theatre, London

I was in London again sooner than anticipated after getting an opportunity to see an understudy performance (more on this in the next blog), so I took the opportunity to see a play that had just missed out to 1984 (review here) on my previous visit.

Let The Right One at the Apollo could be best described as a vampire romance. Based on the novel and subsequent film (which I have not seen) by John Ajvide Lindqvist it tells the tale of a bullied teen Oskar played by Martin Quinn and his encounter with the mysterious Eli played by Rebecca Benson. What follows is a captivating and charming romance set to a background of vampiric intent.

Quinn, staggeringly making his stage debut, is confident, funny and highly skilled in his performance. This role challenging him to the extreme in both performance and physicality. The final scene at the swimming pool is one of challenge and stamina and Quinn rises to it superbly. Benson as the mysterious Eli is quite simply superb, offering a very special vocalisation and physical movement to the role that is nothing short of a delight. To call scenes in a so-called vampire based play beautiful might seem odd, but that is all that can be said of scenes like the "dance with me" scene between Quinn and Benson. Their scenes together are both captivating and belie their age in the quality of their performance.

The rest of the cast do not drop the standard across the board with Clive Mendus as Eli's "father" both disturbing and sorrowful as he goes about his business of fulfilling Eli's needs. Likewise Susan Vidler as Mum is both in turn funny and sad in her performance.

The set is a wonder to just see on entry to the theatre even before the play begins. Designer Christine Jones has come up a multi-purpose forest which offers through John Tiffany's superb direction all that we need from the play, whether it be forest, sweetshop, swimming pool or bedroom. Indeed the clever switching of scenes in the forest is even joked upon in play: "Never mind the shoes, there's a bed!"

Associate director Steven Hoggett also brings some rather stunning and balletic scenes of choreographed movement to bear which some might say are out of place, but to me are just beautiful (that word again). The music from Olafur Arnalds is perfectly in keeping with the performance, quiet and gentle where needed and terrifyingly powerful when required and yes I jumped! You will know what I mean if you see the play.

Finally a mention of the horror, there is some yes and this for some might be the reason some would not see this play. However the work of the vampire, provided by special effects man Jeremy Chernick, while clearly bloody, happens rarely and for me would not be a reason to miss this delight of a play. This is no bloodbath of a Saw or a Tarantino.

Overall one of the best plays I have seen in the last few months with two of the most talented stars in the leads. A vampire tale with a bite, but more of a love bite, and one you should go and be nibbled by.

Performance viewed: Thursday 7th August 2014 at the Apollo, London.

Let The Right One In continues at the Apollo Theatre, London until 30th August, 2014. Details can be found at http://www.apollotheatrelondon.co.uk/let-the-right-one-in/



Popular posts from this blog

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year. Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device. Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston)

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c

Review of Theft at the Castle Theatre Studio, Wellingborough

The comedy-thriller Theft by Eric Chappell tells the story of an anniversary celebrating couple returning to the devastation of their home being ransacked in a burglary. However, this ransacking pales in comparison to the ransacking of their lives that then occurs as home truths are revealed. Anyone old enough to remember the works of Theft writer Chappell ( Rising Damp and Only When I Laugh ), could be forgiven for thinking that this 1996 play might feel a little dated for a 2021 audience. However, bar a few references much of their time now (the weaker sex and female priests for instance), Theft still feels comfortable in the 2021 world, where many of us just want both a good evening of theatre and a good bit of fun. With Theft from the highly regarded Wellingborough Technical Players, they get just that. The action starts as we find the man of the house John Miles played by Graham Breeze returning, very angry, to his home. He is a rightfully boisterous character, channelling all th