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‘Let the Right One In’ proves teen vampire stories don’t have to suck

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Sink your teeth into this!

You might think you have had your fill of teenage vampire romances, but you would be a sucker to miss the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of “Let the Right One In,” playing at Saint Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo through Feb. 15.

The play, which playwright Jack Thorne adapted from the 2004 Swedish novel and subsequent film, gives a peek into the life of bullied and lonely teen Oskar (Cristian Ortega), who spends his time avoiding his overbearing alcoholic mother and hiding from his abusive schoolmates. The best moments of Oskar’s life are when he sits alone at the playground of his dreary apartment complex — he is too old to actually play, but too young to do much of anything else, so he spends these moments fantasizing about revenge against his tormenters.

One day, Oskar meets Eli (Rebecca Benson), a strangely forward, athletic, childlike creature who appears to be about Oskar’s age — and female. The two get to know each other and learn to be allies as they both endure traumatic events.

Eli is a slave to all the typical myths of vampirism — the sun burns, humans must invite vampires indoors, and they need blood to survive. But unlike most other vampire stories, Eli is not evil. The creature treats vampirism as more of a sad affliction for which many victims have suffered. But Eli’s motives are not entirely altruistic. For most of the play, it appears that Eli is Oskar’s savior, but the conclusion leaves the audience wondering just what the boy’s fate will be and how much better off he might have been if Eli had never come along.

The Butcher is a huge fan of the Swedish film (and has thus far avoided the American remake), and was excited to see how the play would hold up. The film, set in a tiny suburban town in the dead of Swedish winter, is infused with a sense of emptiness and desolation. This production does a nice job of matching that by leaving the stage set as a snow-covered forest for the entire show. Simple pieces of furniture are used to make quick changes to indoor scenes, and the arrangement also allows the director to juxtapose two scenes simultaneously.

Fans of the movie will find themselves wondering how the producers of the play will replicate the infamously brutal and cinematic swimming pool scene. Let me just say that they do, and with aplomb.

“Let the Right One In” at Saint Ann’s Warehouse [38 Water St. between Dock and Main streets in Dumbo (718) 834–8794, www.stannswarehouse.org]. Through Feb 15, Tuesdays–Fridays 8 pm, Saturdays 3 pm and 8 pm, Sundays 2 pm and 7 pm. $45–$60.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
yo Butcher, you're growing soft.
Feb. 2, 2015, 5:55 pm

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