Most fans of the blood-drinking undead agree John Ajvide Lindqvist created a modern classic with his novel Let The Right One In. His eerie, troubling and somehow sweet story of a lonely bullied child who finds friendship, maybe even love, with a vampire who moves next door became a best-seller. Lindqvist himself wrote the screenplay for the first film version, then Hammer Studios re-entered the modern horror genre with an English language version titled Let Me In. Not too surprisingly, debate about the two versions ensued. Soon after, a theatrical adaptation in the author’s native Sweden premiered.
This summer, at a major theatre festival in Edinburgh Scotland an English language stage play premiered. Written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, the show at the National Theatre impressed producers sufficiently the production will get a second life at London’s West End this Winter! As far as live theatre goes, the West End is approximately the equal of Broadway. If it proves successful, a move to Broadway remains perfectly possible. Even a national tour!
An audience goer I know actually saw the Scottish production and described it as blending many choices made by each of the two film versions. For example, Oscar’s mother is an alcoholic instead of his father.
Looking a photos from the production shows at least one advantage live theatre has over film. Since everything is so overtly make-believe, teens play the two leads even though the characters remain children. (In the Uppsala production, as with Peter Pan, the little boy was played by an adult girl).
More than one person (in blogs, vlogs, message boards and elsewhere) have insisted on called Let The Right One In a kind of anti-Twilight. The argument goes that Lindqvist’s tale shares many elements of Meyers’ novels, but resolutely aimed at grownups. Eli, unlike Edward, cannot be “vegetarian.” She must feed on human blood, and doing so infects them instantly. Hence her need to kill her prey permanently. Oscar, unlike Bella, has no supportive family nor even friends. No coven of friendly undead helping each other out. The whole story leaves a profound and disturbing impact, one that haunts, more likely to cause nightmares than daydreams.
Me, I’m so hoping to win the lottery so as to see this production!