‘Let the Right One In’ was a tense bestselling novel by Swede John Ajvide Lindqvist; being a Morrissey fan, Lindqvist borrowed the name of this debut novel from their song ‘Let the Right One Slip In’, the lyrics of which say that vampires cannot enter a house unless invited. This 2004 Swedish romantic vampire fiction novel was based on a real-life occurrence. Lindqvist, who had worked for 12 years as a stand-up comedian and magician, followed this literary success with a zombie book that was also translated into several languages.
Lindqvist’s father drowned, a crucial pool scene in this play is in memory of his Dad.
This 2013 English stage adaption by Jack Thorne is only suitable for adults.
This production is by Harbour Theatre and can be seen at Camelot Theatre (Mosman Park Memorial Hall) 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park. The two and a quarter hour performances have curtain up at 7.30 pm on Friday 18th Sept, Saturday 19th the Sunday matinee is at 2.00 pm on the 20th. Other dates are 23, 25, 26, 27, 30 and Oct 2, 3, 4
Bookings are essential due to Covid limitations: TAZtix 9255-3336 or BOOK ONLINE.
True life background of story. For 350 years, Blackeberg was a simple croft and mill. Then, just after World War 2, the City of Stockholm acquired the land from Jacob, the son of tobacco giant Knut Ljunglöf, Sweden’s richest man ever. On Ljunglöf’s site, Stockholm created a ‘new town’ of apartment buildings for their low-income workers. Lindqvist was born and raised in the suburb of Blackeberg. About the same time, eight kilometres to the east, Lilly Lindström was killed by Sweden’s most famous vampire!
Amongst the details it was revealed that 200 years earlier a boy named Elias, who when castrated had turned into a ‘girl’, Eli. Dressed in female clothing, Eli is often still seen by the public as a young girl.
The Scene: 1980 in Blackeberg a working-class suburb of Stockholm
The Set: Jo Sterkenburg’s design was simple but effective. To the side of the stage is a silver birch glade, with leaves and branches on the ground. On the other side of the stage is a three-metre high scaffold representing a house balcony. All the walls are black drapes. Many of the scenes being implied by a simple but essential prop e.g. a door frame or curtained window on castors.
Set construction: Unsophisticated but they worked well and more importantly did not distract from the action. Clever work once again from Brian Mahoney and his assistants.
Lighting and special FX design: Rob Tagliaferri at his absolute best. Minimal full floods, mainly carefully aimed spotlights with an excellent choice of colour tones for the scenes. His swimming pool effect was extra special.
Sound design: Vanessa Gudgeon is the Queen of Horror, so brought a few good ideas to the gore. The sound effects were creepy and one actually made me gasp. Superb work.
Properties: Special knives were courtesy of Vanessa Gudgeon and Duncan Shaw, other gory props by Loreen Finucane.
Stage management: Grace Hitchin and her deputy Katherine English had the stage crew (the actors) well trained as to what goes where, but the theatre wings are shallow and difficult to work with. Despite this, everyone was very aware of keeping up the pace to ensure that the horror and tension was retained.
It is night-time in the local silver birch woods. As a drunk staggers home, a hooded man leaps on him and slashes his throat. Oskar (Charlie Young – superb) is an insipid 12-year-old boy who lives with his alcoholic but caring mother (Camilia Jezewski). Oskar occasionally visits his father (Lee Thomas) – another alcoholic living out in the countryside. At school, Oskar is mercilessly bullied by his classmates Micke (Nathan Di Giovanni) and Jonny (Ethan Thomas), who is under the influence of his sadistic older brother, Jimmy (Alex Banham). On several occasions the sports master, Mr Avila (Leigh Hunter) has had to stop fights.
One day, lonely Oskar befriends an introverted new neighbour, attractive twelve-year-old Eli (Talia O’Brien – a natural actor), a strange smelling girl who lives with an older man named Håkan (Michael Dornan) who helps Eli with her medical problem.
When one of the local men, Jocke (Mitchell Drain) a mountain of a man is found brutally murdered, the Police Commissioner Halmberg (Paul Cook) is forced onto the TV, in his search for the elusive murderer.
The large range of smart period costumes were designed and sourced by Jo Sterkenburg, Aileen Lewis and Sofie Lewis. Special costumes, makeup and horror effects were by Loreen and Keeley Finucane.
The play was directed by Jo Sterkenburg, who grew up in the Hammer House of Horror days, has totally captured the terror of the gruesome murders. Every actor understood their place in the story and gave quality subtle performances. Great chemistry amongst the whole cast. There can be a temptation for actors to throw in a bit of humour when acting horror, but this script was presented professionally thus giving the full repulsion and shock.
This play was presented by Black Swan Theatre in the Heath Ledger Theatre less than 3 years ago; it was their most outstanding and popular play of the year. With a huge budget they presented a massive structure, comprising a three-storey block of flats, with nine apartments, the whole of which rotated.
Naturally, one cannot expect anything as visual this from a small company, but as in any play, the acting standard should be the main feature. The Camelot Theatre is intimate, allowing the audience to feel as though they are on stage suffering along with the victims. This cast was well rehearsed, worked as a close-knit team, as they convincingly built the chilling tension and horror. The whole play was extremely well presented and the fear palpable. I preferred this production to the flashy professional show. ‘The girl’ revelling in the blood as though she was at a chocolate fountain is a memory that will linger.
This play is definitely for adults and certainly not for those of a nervous disposition. Most successful, congratulations.