How it’s New York: It is playing at St Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn
How it’s Irish: It is produced by fellow Celts, The Royal Theatre of Scotland
It was a surreal experience on Sunday evening to walk out onto the dimly lit, cobble-stoned streets of Dumbo with Brooklyn Bridge views sneaking through the narrow streets giving the sense that this could have been any time period in New York ~ a scene dramatically contrasting with the party full of fellow Celts at Power House Bookstore I just left. The occasion? The Royal Theatre of Scotland’s after party for their opening night of Let the Right One In, which just finished a successful run on the West End. In attendance along with myself (!), were celebrities born on the far side of the pond, Talking Head’s, David Byrne and Sex and the City’s, Kim Cattrall ~ ooh la la.
Directed by John Tiffany ~ who incidentally also directs Once on Broadway ~ Let The Right One In, is based on a bestselling Swedish vampire book and critically acclaimed film by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I am not a fan of the vampire genre and went along with a Scottish friend, but upon seeing the eerily designed set by Christine Jones, which filled the vast St Ann’s temporary stage space, I began to think that opening up to new genres wasn’t such a bad idea. Floor to ceiling grey, branchless trees covered the stage along with a masterful use of props, which were wheeled out by cast members as we were transported from locker room to living room and from gym hall to swimming pool.
The underlying story is so strong that when the occasional brutal acts occur, they are almost like a side dish to the main event.
The underlying story is so strong that when the occasional brutal acts occur, they are almost like a side dish to the main event.That is how well written this story is. Oskar (Cristian Ortega) is an unpopular kid who is bullied at school and has a shaky home life, so he escapes to the woods for some peace and solitude when he can. Eli (Rebecca Benson) hangs out in said woods and soon the two befriend one another. Their playground is however a dangerous place due to a recent spate of murders, where the blood is sucked out of the body prior to death, but the kids hang out there fearlessly regardless. And why not ~ young Eli has nothing to fear after all, which she finally admits to Oskar when she tells him she is ‘one of those things’, as interestingly the word vampire is never mentioned in the entire play.
The strong supporting cast includes Susan Vidler, who plays Oskar’s mother and Gary Mackay, Cliff Burnett, Graeme Dalling and Andrew Fraser. Flawless performances from all including some beautiful dance moves to the haunting musical soundtrack by Olaf Arnalds.
The play has been extended until March 8th and is a must see regardless of your feelings about blood and gore, because unlike the movies, thankfully, there is only so much that a stage production can do in this department. Go, see for yourself!
ps Ask us in the comments if you are curious as to how the underwater scene was enacted ~ we spoke with Ortega and got him to spill the beans on that!