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Let The Right One In at Harbour Theatre

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Delight in the darkness and savour the sinister
Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Let The Right One In features the mysterious Eli (Talia O'Brien, right) who befriends young Oskar (Charlie Young).


Sinister undercurrents and gothic themes flow throughout Harbour Theatre's latest show, as part of a dark coming-of-age story. Based on the Swedish novel and film by John Ajvide Lindqvist and adapted for stage by Jack Thorne, Let The Right One In focuses on the bullied teenage boy Oskar who finds a friend in Eli, after she moves in next door.

Both are from dysfunctional families and support each other during a frightening time in Oskar's life, as a spate of disturbing killings rock the neighbourhood. But Eli has a hidden secret she doesn't go to school and never leaves her flat during the day.

Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Eli (Talia O'Brien, left) gets up close and person with Jocke (Mitchell Drain) in Let The Right One In.


Let The Right One In was published in 2004 and adapted into a film in 2008, followed by an English language adaptation in 2010 under the title Let Me In.

"The story proves that as long as you have someone to support you, you can survive anything," director Jo Sterkenburg said. "There are several underlying themes that many people will identify with and enjoy exploring."

Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Oskar (Charlie Young, left) is harassed by bullies Micke (Nathan Di Giovanni, centre) and Jonny (Ethan Thomas).


Jo said she saw the film several years ago and was captivated by its dark undertones and relatable story. "After reading the book, I looked for the screenplay and, to my delight, discovered it was available to be performed," she said.

"I have always been attracted to dark, gothic themes and have wanted to do something like this at Harbour Theatre for many years. I wanted a challenge, instead of the usual sort of play with a square set and lots of furniture. Let The Right One In is an opportunity for the audience to imagine the horror through atmosphere, sound and lighting effects and, of course, good acting."

Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Torkel (Lee Thomas, left) meets a sticky end at the hands of Hakan (Michael Dornan).


First becoming involved in theatre more than 40 years ago in Quairading, Jo joined Harbour Theatre in 1981 and has been involved as an actor, director, stage manager, lighting and sound operator and make-up artist in a plethora of productions. She has also performed at Melville Theatre and has numerous best actor and supporting actor awards to her credit.

Most recently, Jo directed the bittersweet comedy Sex Cells and the short drama Early Frost. Her latest show hasn't been without its challenges, including COVID-19.

"We were two weeks into rehearsal and then everything went into lockdown," Jo said. "But my cast and crew have been amazing, still wanting to be involved months later, and are coming along to rehearsals with enthusiasm."

Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Talia O'Brien plays the main role of Eli.


Talia O'Brien plays the role of Eli, a character that "fascinates her beyond words". "There's so much backstory we're not privy to in the play, making her somewhat of an enigma at first glance," she said.

"Eli's childish yet witty nature ignites the stage but her thirst for blood dictates makes her a fearful force to be reckoned with. She'll keep you on your toes because you'll never know exactly what she's thinking.

Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Awkward teens Eli (Talia O'Brien, left) and Oskar (Charlie Young) find support in each other.

"The biggest challenge is Eli's age and consequential temperament she's supposedly aged 12 but is actually 200 years old. Sometimes I feel Eli switches between two realms, from the world of a bloodthirsty predator and survivor to that of a mere child."

While acting was always a dream for Talia, she found there were few opportunities for her while growing up in Port Hedland aside from the annual school production, which she always took part in. After moving to Perth last year, she took acting classes at K2 Dance which re-ignited her spark for performing.

Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Let The Right One In features Talia O'Brien as Eli, a girl with a hidden secret.


"I had the privilege of seeing Black Swan Theatre Company's 2017 production of Let The Right One In, which was phenomenal," Talia said. "Eli was played by Sophia Forrest and it particularly resonated with me and little did I know I would one day play the same character.

"The way she was able to manipulate movement to portray all sorts of emotions was unforgettable. It was actually one of the first plays I really enjoyed and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. When I saw Harbour Theatre was casting for Let the Right One In I was ecstatic, although I knew I would have some very big shoes to fill!"

Let The Right One In, Harbour Theatre, play, gothic, performing arts, darkness, sinister, horror, John Ajvide Lindqvist
Mr Avila (Leigh Hunter, left) tries to get Micke (Nathan Di Giovanni), Jonny (Ethan Thomas) and Oskar (Charlie Young) into shape.


Let The Right One In plays at 7.30pm September 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 30, October 2 and 3 with 2pm matinees September 20, 27 and October 4. Tickets are $25.50, $23.50 concession and $20.50 students book at www.TAZTix.com.au or call TAZTix on 9255 3336.

Note: the play contains strong language and supernatural themes and is not suitable for children under 14. Harbour Theatre is located at 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park.

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Why? At its heart, Let The Right One In is a love story that goes for the jugular while exploring relationships of convenience and the overriding need for self-preservation.
When: 7.30pm September 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 30, October 2 & 3; 2pm September 20, 27 & October 4
Phone: 92553336
Where: Harbour Theatre, 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park
Cost: $25.50, $23.50 concession and $20.50 students
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