Review: The Da Vinci Code, The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Review: The Da Vinci Code, The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

by Martin Brisland.

You’ve read the book, watched the film, now see the play!

The world premiere stage adaptation of Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code is at the Mayflower Theatre until the 30th April.

With over 100 million copies of the book sold, this is the story that has captivated many worldwide. An elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered, and alongside his body are a series of baffling codes. Dan Brown’s story was complex in book form, and no less so in Ron Howard’s film. Now comes Luke Sheppard’s theatre production and it works brilliantly as he manages to streamline a complicated story. The pace is fast and effortless and the occasional use of humour provides just the right amount of light relief.

Professor Robert Langdon is a Harvard symbologist in Paris on business. He and fellow cryptologist Sophie Neveu attempt to solve the riddles.

They are up against Opus Dei, a Vatican approved secret sect who plot to seize the secret. If they do, a stunning historical truth about the fundamentals of Christianity will be lost forever.

Strengths lie in visual effects and stagecraft. The Da Vinci Code excels itself as a visually immersive spectacle.

David Woodhead’s set and Andrzej Goulding’s striking video projections  give the show its fluidity and speed. We begin with a magnificently enlarged Vitruvian Man, along with projections of the Mona Lisa and later the Louvre itself. Ben and Max Ringham’s excellent electronic music adds to the energy and pace. The play has the quality and feel of a West End production.

Professor Langdon was effortlessly portrayed by Coronation Street actor Chris Harper. He has a voice that is easy on the ear and leads us through the intricacies of the plot with assurance.

Rachael Wagstaff and Duncan Abel’s adaptation places Sophie at the front and centre of the plot and Hanah Rose Caton certainly gives a most excellent and believable performance.

The role of stiff upper lip, eccentric, Sir Leigh Teabing, an expert on The Holy Grail, is played by the charismatic Danny John-Jules, following his roles in TV’s Red Dwarf and Murder in Paradise.

This lightning paced and intelligent thriller is surprising at every twist, absorbing at every turn and unpredictable right up to its astonishing conclusion. In an era when ‘jukebox musicals’ are popular it is refreshing to see a traditional play that is so polished and totally gripping.

Tickets for The Da Vinci Code are on sale at or 02380 711811.

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