Theatre review: Let The Right One In at the Apollo

at the Apollo Theatre

at the Apollo Theatre - Credit: Archant

Anyone seeking a theatrical experience with plenty of bite could do a lot worse than head to the West End for the stage adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 vampire novel.

Returning to London after a short run at the Royal Court Theatre late last year, it marks the reopening of the Apollo Theatre after the collapsed roof in December.

For some, it may sound a strange choice. A tale of vampirism is potentially of niche concern. But this is so much more – a delicate love story that easily transcends the confines of genre.

Eli is a teenage girl who has been young for many, many years. Oskar is a bullied boy, meek and mild; well-meaning but persecuted by his peers. When the two meet for the first time outside the block of flats where they both reside, there is awkward trepidation. Both are shy and rejection sits on their respective shoulders. Soon, they will overcome such worries and become fast friends. This, in turn, blossoms into love. All around them, and all the while, a spate of murders occur and recur.

How their relationship can be maintained in the face of this hostile environment, both individually and collectively, is something of heightening concern as the narrative unfolds. A good metaphor for this is the passive presence of a Rubik’s Cube. Its state of completion offers a subtle metaphor for Oskar’s emotional state during various points of the drama.

This production is one of those rare examples where the sound, staging, script and casting have been melded into a tight, melodious harmony. Words of criticism are hard to levy.

For those who have seen the Swedish film, fear not over any extensive tampering. Bar a relocation from Sweden to the Scottish Highlands, this is a faithful realisation by Skins/This Is England ’86 writer Jack Thorne.

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Ultimately, underneath its superficially gruesome overcoat is a warm, sincere and uplifting tale filled with heart. Without question, a bloody delight.

Until September 27.

Rating: Five stars