By Holly Ferguson
From the moment the black curtain lifts, Let the Right One In, demands your attention. A mega, three story set is revealed; with three rooms on each level. The sheer magnitude and impressive nature of the set, establishes the direction of the show; it lets you know that this is going to be one hell of a story.
Director, Clare Watson (Black Swan State Theatre Company’s newly appointed Artistic Director) brings so much life to this story and adds unique elements that create interesting dynamics on stage. Watson utilises the multi-storey set past its conventional means; with some scenes being conducted between characters over different levels, despite the scene being set face to face.
Ian Michael plays the young protagonist, Oskar, a 12-year-old boy growing up in a low socio-economic area and struggling with relentless bullying. Things start looking up for Oskar when he makes his first friend Eli (Sophia Forrest), who lives next door but doesn’t go to school like the other kids and is only seen at night.
Michael is perfectly casted in this role, his portrayal of the youthful character is convincing, sweet and heartbreaking. Forest is also incredibly convincing; especially with her freaky supernatural ability to leap and climb onto Eli’s victims, which prompted audible gasps from the audience each time.
Michael and Forrest expel great energy and chemistry on stage. Their passion is untameable and it’s clear to the audience that they’re enjoying what they’re doing.
I have to say, I’m always thoroughly impressed and wowed by Set and Costume Designer Bruce McKinven’s work. This set is no exception.
The set serves the story incredibly well, being versatile in its ability to house projection and move and expand to suit the various locations. McKinven really thinks of everything.
Although impressive, the set’s magnitude does provide some sight issues depending on where you’re sitting. I was sitting near centre in the stalls and occasionally my vision was obscured or action was occurring out of my sight line.
There are a lot of interchanging props and large items that are moved on and off stage throughout the show. Each time a room is revealed for a new scene (walls facing the stage move in and out when in or not in use) it’s fun to see how the space has transformed from the previous scenes. However, sometimes I thought I could hear the moving of objects to the point where it began to distract me from the action at hand, as it was so audible.
Watson really does this story justice. Her choices as Director have led to an engaging production, which matches the equally arresting story. It’s truly refreshing to watch.
With a running time of an hour and forty minutes, I never felt like the play had lost my interest or was lagging. Matching a great story with equally great acting, directing and design is always a recipe for success.
This is a show that could impress anyone.
Let the Right One In runs until the 3rd of December. Buy your tickets: here
Student priced tickets are just $34!