A biting play

YOUNG love, social isolation, bullying and gallons of blood collide in gothic splendour in Let the Right One In.

The play, at WA’s State Theatre, is proof that the public are as bloodthirsty as ever for vampire fiction.

Let the Right One In is Black Swan artistic director Clare Watson’s first production since taking over the reins from Kate Cherry last year.

And it’s a play Watson’s been dying to sink her fangs into, ever since watching the film version.

“It’s a beautiful coming of age and love story—it plays with the vampire genre in quite beautiful ways,” Watson says.

The play revolves around twelve-year-old Oskar (Ian Michael), who lives with his divorced mum, and is bullied at school and becomes socially isolated.

Eli (Sophia Forrest) has just moved in next door, but she doesn’t go to school and never goes out during the day, and sensing kindred spirits they become unlikely friends.

• Sophia Forrest and Ian Michael start in Let the Right One In. Photo by Robert Frith

What Oskar doesn’t know is Eli isn’t actually 12, and has been a vampire for 200 years.

And when a spate of sinister killings start, their lives become further entwined.

Bullying is a central theme of Let the Right One In, demonstrating a misuse of power on a number of levels, Watson says.

Donald Trump wasn’t on the political horizon when she took up the rights to the play.

“When you look at the most powerful man in the world we see a bully.

“The play is more pertinent now.”

Like Dracula, Eli has a helper, Hakan, who may or may not be a vampire.

• The cast of Let the Right One In and artistic director Clare Watson. Photo by Daniel J Grant

“He kills people for Eli,” Watson says.

“Their relationship is particularly interesting. Do they demonstrate as a parent and child, or a couple.”

There’s plenty of blood and the squeamish are warned: “It’s a little bit gory,” Watson says.

But set in the 1980s, there’s no shying away from the “humour and high camp” of the time, she adds.

“I think teenagers would love this work, its fast and filmic and as Sophie said at rehearsal today, ‘no-one is going to get bored in this’.”

The cast of WA actors includes Matiland Schnaars (King Hit), Clarence Ryan (Cleverman), Stuart Halusz (Angels in America), Steve Turner (Once in Royal David’s City), Alison van Reeken (Tartuffe), Rory O’Keeffe (Much Ado About Nothing) and Twiggy Forrest’s daughter Sophia.

Let the Right One In is based on the novel of the same name, written by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist. It’s on at the Heath Ledger Theatre from November 11 to December 3.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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