Touring until 12 November 2022 – reviewed at Theatre Royal Nottingham
Guest reviewer: Amarjeet Singh
The Da Vinci Code has been adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, and it is directed by Luke Sheppard. All acclaimed in their field, yet I cannot understand why they decided to try to adapt the story of The Da Vinci Code to the letter. The novel did not fend well as a film and it appears to have suffered the same fate as a live production.
Sitting in my seat, greeted by a beautiful set, a re-creation of the inside of the Louvre. The Vitruvian Man staring out across the audience, etched ghostly upon a screen. I was both excited and curious as to how this would all play out.
Sadly, it was disjointed, clunky and confusing. At times, it was as if I had wandered into a lecture I had not signed up for and at others a rather uncomfortable dance performance. The accents were inconsistent and confusing, not a hint of French in sight. Flashing lights and cast members pulling on hoodies to drift in and out of the action made this a very jarring watch.
Dialogue heavy and at times static, so much so that when one of the main characters froze and missed his lines (more than once), it was obvious to the audience. His fellow thespians had to step in to keep things flowing but it had altered things, so that when others paused for effect you wondered if they too had stalled. Waiting on each other’s words so they could deliver theirs, it was like a tsunami of sound. Wordy, we were lost in the constant telling and not showing. Repetition and re-enacting things that had previously happened in the play did not add enjoyment but only served to tidy up anything they hadn’t told us in a long, drawn out process.
The Da Vinci Code was a mentally exhausting watch but there were some positives. The set was creative and interesting. Nigel Harman was superb and understated as Professor Langdon. He played him with subtlety, his American accent not faltering once, which is impressive in itself but when you factor in the sheer amount of lines that needed to be learned, it was a pretty spectacular performance. The rest of the cast did their best, but I believe the issue lies with the content. Some things were not destined for adaptation and I believe all the clues point to The Da Vinci Code being one of them.
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‘Some stories shouldn’t be adapted’: Despite a ‘superb’ Nigel Harman, the new touring stage version of Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel #TheDaVinciCode disappoints @FairyPro. ★★ #theatrereviews