Feb. 22 2018 09:52 AM

‘Let the Right One In’ tells a different kind of love story

The Dart Auditorium is stark, a bare stage with the notable exception of a single portable basketball hoop. The action begins almost immediately, as one character slits the throat of another, hog-tying him upside down to drain his blood.

This is LCC’s production of “Let the Right Thing In,” an adaptation of a 2008 Swedish movie, based on the best-selling 2004 novel of the same name.

A major theme of the play focuses on the bullying inflicted upon the central character Oskar, a Swedish high school student played by Jason Durr.

He is soon joined onstage in a playground by Eli, played by Storm Boyer. Is Eli a woman, a girl, a muse? Is she really there, or just a figment of Oskar’s imagination?

The heart of “Let the Right One In” is their relationship, which begins awkwardly, develops slowly and ends with the recognition that love can take many forms. Durr and Boyer portray the couple as sweet, tender and vulnerable.

Thus, when we find out that she has been a vampire, who has been alive for eons and survives by drinking the blood of humans — somehow — we are not surprised. Sometimes, we learn, love between two very different creatures tends to just happen.

When Eli becomes a makeshift vampire super-hero, attacking the three bullies that pester Oskar continuously, she fills up her bloodtank for the long haul.

Eli and Oskar, true lovers forever, devise a plan to get out of town, live happily ever after and, in her case, sleep all day in a steamer trunk.

“Let the Right One In” has a large cast of supporting characters, including the three bullies, played to form by Quinn Kelly, Dylan Storm and Richard Kopitsch, and a school gym teacher played by Joey Wodja. Of this group, Wodja is the most realistic, delivering lines with a naturalism that seems genuine.

Oskar’s mom, portrayed by Bobbi Newman, also comes across with a sense of authenticity. These are all minor roles, but still necessary to create a framework for the central love story. Hakam, played to perfection by Kyle Haggard, really stands out with a horrific throat slitting scene early in the play.

A haunting musical score permeates much of “Let the Right One In,” attenuating and enhancing the vulnerability of its central characters. Set pieces float in and around the stage effortlessly on rollers, thanks to a highly organized running crew, who were rewarded for their efforts by being the first to get post show bows.

Director Andy Callis must be credited for creating an intangible sense that this is a Swedish play. There are no accents, but there is something dark and poignant that permeates the script that emulates the cold, and at times anti-social, atmosphere of Scandinavia.

“Let the Right One In” Through Feb. 25

8 p.m. Friday & Saturday 2 p.m. Sunday Dart Auditorium Admission begins a half hour before curtain. Tickets start at $15