Let the Right One In

Critics' choice
1/12
© Idil Sukan

Rebecca Benson (Eli)

2/12
© Idil Sukan

Rebecca Benson (Eli)

3/12
© Idil Sukan

Rebecca Benson (Eli)

4/12
© Manuel Harlan

Rebecca Benson (Eli) and Martin Quinn (Oskar)

5/12
© Manuel Harlan

Rebecca Benson (Eli) and Martin Quinn (Oskar)

6/12
7/12
8/12
9/12
© Manuel Harlan

Martin Quinn (Oskar)

10/12
© Manuel Harlan

Graeme Dalling (Jonny) and Martin Quinn (Oskar)

11/12
© Manuel Harlan

Rebecca Benson (Eli)

12/12
© Manuel Harlan

Rebecca Benson (Eli)

The Apollo Theatre has risen from the grave after last year’s ceiling collapse, and under the moonlit temporary canopy of its ceiling,  the National Theatre of Scotland’s elegant, frostbitten take on modern vampire classic this has been resurrected to brilliant effect.

Jack Thorne’s script for ‘Let the Right One In’ is an unfussy take on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, more successful than either of the film versions, locating the action in a frozen middle-ground between Sweden and Dundee. The cast speak in Scottish accents but the props and the layout of the isolated woodland town seem distinctly Scandinavian.

Thorne brings young Oskar’s social awkwardness to the fore, linking him to an unknowing continuity of remote and angry young men who find themselves ignored by their parents and scorned by their peers. One of several brilliant dance-like interludes in John Tiffany’s gorgeous production sees Oskar practising thrusts and swipes with a stolen knife as the woods behind him fill with other boys rehearsing the same feeble retributions.

Martin Quinn is a stunning Oskar, gawky, self-defeating and petulant; a natural target for the bullying he received until the strong, magnetic Eli enters his life. The young vampiress is played with winning strangeness by Rebecca Benson, and if her singsong delivery occasionally grates her physicality hits a feline sweet-spot between balletic grace and predatory tension.

From the icy electronics of Ólafur Arnalds’s score to Chrstine Jones’s snow-dusted woodland under the sodium glare of a streetlight, 'Let the Right One In' blends the imagery of the European fairy-tale tradition with something more urban and less campfire-cosy. It’s staged with great confidence, with a set full of tricks and surprises, and refuses to shy away from the gruesome cost of Eli’s friendship. The forest looks a little less dark and deep than it did last year at the Royal Court, but that's a minor quibble when everything looks and feels so enchanting.

One of the undoubted highlights of 2013, ‘Let the Right One In’s presence on the West End is a cause for celebration – it’s a full-blooded, gorgeously realised love story that’s retains its humanity even in its most feral moments.

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|10
3 people listening
Rebecca L

I really enjoyed the show, I thought the cast were brilliant. I quite enjoyed the randomness of the dancing, and thought that the show was very well executed.


Impressed by the acting, actually felt quite uncomfortable by the bullying, and really liked the set.


For £10 in London, this really was a bargain. Thoroughly enjoyed and would def recommend.

Simon P

Mmm, I only paid a tenner for tickets as well, so shouldn't complain, but it just didn't do it for me. Like Carrie below, I found the syncopated 'dancing' rather odd. I wondered why everyone was talking in a Scottish accent as well, but why not I s'pose. There are a few minor chuckles along the way, but towards the end I did find myself looking around admiringly at the theatre itself rather than watch what was happening on the stage. I guess I shouldn't have read a couple of positive reviews prior to going, arriving with high expectations. For tenner tickets though, it beat sitting at home on Saturday night.

Carrie x

The set looked beautiful and the special effects were beyond words.  The scene where Eli asks to be invited in was just incredible and there were moments were I was genuinely scared.  However, Eli's voice/line delivery was so odd that, for me, it ruined the atmosphere.  The characters also dance at random times throughout the play which is odd and felt wrong tonally.  I also found it less involving as the actors are clearly in their 20s but the story is about young children.  Still, my ticket was a tenner and I got moved down to the stalls so I really can't complain as it was absolutely beautiful to look at and the acting, for the most part, was great.

A M

I saw this play four days ago, and had to leave a comment because I think it is really really good. It's maybe not to everyone's taste, but for my part, I enjoyed it immensely, and if I lived in London I would go see it again. 

Both Martin Quinn and Rebecca Benson are quite impressive, and the set is brilliant. 


Eli's voice may be a little bit odd, but the variety of emotions she displays is remarkable. 


Hoping to see more of Rebecca Benson in the future.

avril m

Although we enjoyed the set and the music, we couldn't stand the voice of Eli. No doubt she has been directed to act this way to appear strange but her delivery of lines ruined the production

Brian T

Having enjoyed the novel and both films (preferring the Swedish one) I was quite let down by the stage version. It was adequate at best, suffering from a clumsy story line and lack of imagination. I was intrigued as to how the swimming pool scene would translate onto the stage, it didn't - a tank filled with water, some loud music and a few flashing lights just didn't catch the spellbinding horror of both film versions.

Cristopher O

 I am big bloody fan of the book and have seen countless times the Swedish movie and once the American version, both brilliant in their own right. I went to see this play when it opened here in London and I wasn't disappointed at all. The acting is great (loved the Scottish accent) and the music is hunting and brilliant. I want all that 80's clothes that the ''boys'' were wearing. I highly recommend this play. I give it 6 bloody stars.

William

I really enjoyed this play. It showed how two people became friends despite both being outsiders. They both begin to understand each other which is great to watch. Fantastic production with great music adding an errie feel felt by the audience.

Martha Reilly

Stupendous production with all the bite of the film. Choreography, gore and cast were all spot on. I was expecting it to lose some of the power of the book/film but was pleasantly surprised.

Rex C
0 of 1 found helpful

Piss poor and unnecessary transposition of the film to Scotland.  Loses all the power and atmosphere of the movie.  And what's with all these people giving it 5 stars on the basis of the review?