Mini-review – Let The Right One In – Royal Court at the Apollo Theater

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It’s been a few months since the very sold out production of Let the Right One In closed at the Royal Court. I’d been unable to get tickets for it during the run, but that was in great part my fault. It was December, I was in a holiday/panto mood, and I wasn’t entirely sure where blood and vampires fit in to my general vibe. Once I’d had a friend assure me there wasn’t all that much blood in it (and it was rather good), it was too late to buy tickets, and I missed out. Ah well, by then I already knew it was going to transfer, and when tickets came up on Travelzoo for £15 during the first weeks of the run, I grabbed a pair and was pleased to see I was upgraded to stalls seats upon arrival at the Apollo. Sadly, this seemed in part due to the tube strike going on, and I found myself feeling antsy wondering if the nearly 2 1/2 hour running time was going to mean I got home around midnight or later.

What I wasn’t counting on, however, was that I was going to find the production left me squirming in my chair uncomfortably in a way that encouraged me to heed caution’s call and run for the border at the interval. The first scene had too, too much blood in it for me, and was done in a way that, well, probably maximized horror/gore/terror levels. It’s vampires, right, so therefore it must be bloody and scary? Well, not really – it’s a directorial choice. I hadn’t seen the movie so I was going in completely unprepared and, frankly, human execution is the thing of which nightmares are made for me.

Then, well, there was the question of adults playing child actors. Yeah, sure, one of them is a vampire, but that doesn’t entirely excuse the wooden acting – I just couldn’t buy it. It seemed strained. She seemed … straining. LIke she was constantly sitting on the can, secretly, while performing. And the entire set up seemed too literally to follow how scenes are set up for a movie rather than a structure that would work for a play – it felt like I was watching “the movie reenacted on stage” rather than an adaptation that focused on the elements of the original work that made compelling live theater.

Anyway, between being fully grossed out by all of the blood, distanced by the acting, and left with the feeling that I was just watching a live action movie, I decided that if I really cared about the ending, I could get the DVD. And I did make it home by ten, and I felt like I’d got my money’s worth and would be best served by getting a full night’s sleep as well. Fans of the movie, fans of horror will probably enjoy this play; I enjoyed being in bed at my normal time.

(This review is for a partial performance watched on April 29, 2014. It’s continuing through September.)

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