Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ comes to Edinburgh King’s Theatre to showcase Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Bel’s adaptation of the beloved, grail hunting story. ‘The Da Vinci Code’ follows Professor Robert Langdon, a symbologist visiting Paris for a lecture, and cryptologist Sophie Neveu after a vicious murder in the Louvre Museum causes them to follow cryptic clues, involving them in a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei, over the holy grail – a 2000-year-old secret that hunters believe to be the bloodline of Jesus Christ.
Nigel Harman, who plays the coveted Robert Langdon, put his own perspective on the role and demonstrated some solid characterisation and suspenseful acting whilst incorporating some very well-timed comedy to what is predominantly intense dialogue. Harman had a great chemistry with Hannah Rose Caton as the two leads in the narrative, driving the story forward. Harman was a standout in the performance, showcasing his ability in emotion, understanding of the story and connection to the character.
Hannah Rose Caton played the role of Sophie Neveu, engaging the audience with her portrayal as soon as she stepped on stage. Caton had the most dominant role in the story, the was portrayed very delicately yet stern and authoritative all at the same time showing great depth to this complex character, plus both sides of her struggle between the severity of the mission and the connection with her grandfather.
Danny John-Jules gave a great twist on the role of Sir Leigh Teabing. Taking the role of the villain and giving a nice character arc from Act One to Act Two. John-Jules gave Teabing relatable, endearing qualities with his witty humour and personality. This leads to the twist, which allowed John-Jules to give a darker side of this character, whilst also giving the audience more to grasp on to.
The smaller roles felt slightly ignored at times. Characters such as Collet, played by Leigh Lothian, and Silas, played by Joshua Lacey, were very good, for what they were given. Silas could have been a more memorable character, he was given a lot of good devices such as the videography and ominous lighting, although it felt as though Silas was an afterthought. The same goes for Collet, Lothian did a great job with her role and showed a lot of emotion and care in her performance. She did seem to feel missing as Collet seemed like a strong part of the story.
David Woodhead brought the world to life on stage and his set designs were simply incredible. The use of projections to show the clues and letters written was a great way to utilise every inch of the space. The paintings changing in the Louvre, coming from the rafters was a great touch. A lot of the storytelling was visual and the changing of scenery from Paris to an aeroplane, to the Rosslyn Chapel was effortless and extremely smooth.
The visuals mixed with Lizzie Powell’s lighting gave the story the atmosphere it needed. Lighting changes upon certain characters entering and clues being revealed added the intensity needed to boost the show. The mix of set and lights were by far the best elements of the play.
The only thing letting the show down was the overall acting and pacing. Throughout the piece, the acting seemed very monotone. You would think such a strong and serious dramatic storyline would lend itself to an array of emotions being shown in every actor, however, a lot of the intensity of scenes got lost by a lack of emotional storytelling. The pacing hindered this also, there was no time for the audience to digest what had happened. The big reveals such as the teacher and the crypt text being solved happened, but then was quickly moved on from. These are only two examples but the big twists and revelations that the whole story was built towards, once they were unveiled – that was it. There was no time left for the audience to sit with it and take it in, this created a rushed feeling to the performance.
In conclusion, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was a great attempt at a classic story, with some tweaks, plus focus on pacing and awareness, this production could blow audiences away. The set alone is worth seeing the show but the actual performance aspect needs to be brought up a notch in order to match the success of similar productions.
Get your tickets for ‘The Da Vinci Code’ at Capital Theatres here: