Warning: Spoilers ahead
If there is one show most appropriate for a brisk fall night, it is the play “Let the Right One In.” It’s an eerie, psychologically thrilling play surrounding a bullied boy finding a twisted love with the new and peculiar girl-next-door during a serial killer investigation.
Showing until Nov. 6 at the Joan & Edgar Booth Theater, this play, written by Jack Thorne, is a collaboration between Boston University’s College of Fine Arts School of Theatre and Actors’ Shakespeare Project — an award-winning professional theater company. The show is directed by Christopher V. Edwards, a senior lecturer in CFA.
One jungle gym metal prop was the only feature on stage as audience members found their seats in the theater. The ambience was dark with minimal lighting, creating the feeling of dusk.
The show began with a choreographed dance including all the characters, which left me with shivers down my spine. It transitioned to the main character Oscar, played by Mishka Yarovoy, a junior in CFA, being taken out of his hiding spot in his gym locker by bullies and dragged off-stage.
Immediately after, the plot took a very sharp, bloody turn. A man is brought out onto stage and an old man slit his throat. His blood looked incredibly red and real and was collected into a bucket. Later, it is revealed that the old man was getting blood for his vampire girlfriend, who looked about 16, to feast on.
Eli — the female protagonist played by Leah Hohauser, a junior in the CFA — is a socially awkward, smelly girl, according to Oscar. She had frumpy clothes and knotted hair, and resembled the ghost girl from the 2002 horror movie “The Ring.”
Eli and Oscar navigate their strange romance mostly showcased through their talks playing on the monkey bars while trying to deal with their own dilemmas — Eli trying to keep her supernatural secret and Oscar attempting to deal with his bullies, his absent father and alcoholic mother.
Edwards took a very artistic approach to directing the show, introducing different motifs that progressed the complicated plot.
Many of the props in the show were white, from couches and the mother’s wine to the entire candy shop where Oscar spent a lot of time in. Everything appeared pure. This was sharply contrasted by the gory blood Eli welcomed that destroyed the “purity” of the town that was built through the visual designs.
Oscar’s innocence and Eli’s lack thereof is what made their relationship eerie, yet I still rooted for them. All the colors, lights and noises used in the play were carefully curated to showcase the play’s vision of being a thrilling horror while still leaving room for the tender love between Eli and Oscar encapsulating a modern “Romeo and Juliet.”
Watching the play was a very intimate experience. Cast members circled props around the stage during scenes to display a multi-dimensional experience accompanied with eerie sounds made by cast members in the audience.
Scene changes were conducted by characters in costume with minimal lines allowing them to still be present throughout the show. The play displayed a sense of community and teamwork that the cast shared amongst each other despite the fact that there were actors from both BU and the Shakespeare Project.
The show ended with a white light being spotlighted on Oscar, who is riding a train with his romantic vampire partner sleeping in an ottoman. Oscar looks over to the audience as red snowflakes shower the stage, and it fades to black before the curtain call occurs.
While the plot of “Let the Right One In” dragged at some points, it was able to tell an odd story in an artistic way. I was kept on the edge of my seat, and it was a perfect way to spend a chilly October night. This is definitely the right play to let into your life.