Reviewed by Louise Edwards
Best selling author Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, is this week wowing audiences at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham as it embarks on a world’s stage premier and nationwide tour.
The stage is set up as the interior of the Louvre with Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man taking centre stage. As the action starts the theatre is plunged into darkness and the actors take position. As fans of the book will know, the story explores an alternative religious story and provides speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and Mary Magdalene’s role in the history of Christianity.
Nigel Harman (former Eastender’s heartthrob) stars as American symbologist Robert Langdon, who is giving a talk at the Louvre art gallery on the same evening that the Louvre’s curator and Priory of Sion grandmaster, Jacques Saunière (played by Andrew Lewis) is fatally shot dead and symbolically laid out like the Vitrivian Man, by a skinhead monk Silus (played by Joshua Lacey). Silus is acting on behalf of someone he knows only as the Teacher, who wishes to discover the location of the “keystone,” an item crucial in the search for the Holy Grail. A similar fate is met by the other three Priory of Sion chiefs.
To police chief, Bezu Fache (played by Alpha Kargbo), Langdon is the prime suspect as his name is left in the cryptic message Sauniere leaves.
Sophie Neveu (played by Hannah Rose Canton in her theatrical debut), grandaughter of the murdered Sauniere and French crypographer, pleads Langdon’s innocence as she understands the message her grandfather left and the pair flee to track down the clues left with the police hot in their wake.
Neveu and Langdon discover a key and work out the code for the bank vault where they find the keystone and the next part of the puzzle. Langdon, feeling out of his depth, heads to the home of his eccentric billionaire friend Sir Leigh Tearbing, played by Danny John-Jules (star of Red Dwarf and Death in Paradise) who is an expert in the Holy Grail.
Accompanied by Tearbing’s butler, Remy (played by Alistair Buchan) and Silas who is chasing after the keystone they all head to London and finally Scotland in their quest for answers. Obviously things don’t run as smoothly as planned and the story takes some twists and turns. My theatre partner felt that Langdon had more gravitas in the novel and instead at times it feels like he is along for the ride.
Directed by Luke Sheppard this thriller play is slick and tight with the action fast paced and captivating. Even to someone like me who hasn’t read the book the story is accessible and gripping. The stage is cleverly transformed from the Louvre, to Teabing’s home to a plane and a church seamlessly and the lighting and music create the atmosphere perfectly. At times the choreography is dance-like, adding another dimension to the performance.
The Da Vinci Code novel sold more than 80million copies and has an almost cult like following and the playwrights, Wagstaff and Abel, wanted to give Brown’s readers something that would add to their experience of the story they love. With the support of Dan Brown and his input into the writing and production this play will delight and thrill fans (and potentially new fans) of the novel as it is brought to life on stage. Don’t miss this incredible production at a theatre near you!
Tickets cost from £19.50
The Da Vinci Code is at The Theatre Royal, Nottingham until Saturday 22 January 2022
For more information or to book tickets visit https://trch.co.uk/whats-on/the-da-vinci-code-21/ or call the box office on 0115 989 5555
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND
Further tour dates can be found here https://davincicodeonstage.com/