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Nigel Harman (Robert Langdon), Hannah Rose Caton (Sophie Neveu) Danny John-Jules (Sir Leigh Teabing)

The Da Vinci Code

Belgrade Theatre Coventry


Eighty million readers can’t be wrong. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is a phenomenon and this adaption by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel is a masterpiece in its own right.

How they manage to cram all that action into a two-hour drama beats me! Granted, it is tackled at break-neck speed with locations that elide, with a set that is as clever as the script; this, simply, is a corker.

You’re probably one of the 80 million, so you know the story is real granny’s knitting. It’s basically an incredibly clever treasure hunt for American Professor Robert Langdon, a symbologist, (Nigel Harman) and Parisian cryptographer ‘Princess’ Sophie Neveu (Hannah Rose Caton) who are both suspects and detectives on the trail of the murderer of Sophie’s grandfather (Alasdair Buchan) who was  a curator at the Louvre.

There are three other important characters who we do not meet, as well as the elusive Holy Grail. Just one step ahead of the law and the sinister murderer Silas, their attempts to unravel the clues left by Sophie’s grandfather make up the meat of the drama.

A little humour, light relief and more confusion comes in the form of eccentric billionaire Sir Leigh Teabing (Danny John-Jules) as he leads the fugitives from the Louvre to Westminster Abbey and back on his private plane, in their turn pursued by police and murderer through both Paris and London. If you know the story, you know the twist and this isn’t the place to divulge. Suffice to say, it is well hidden and still a shock!

It's not all a frenetic chase. The quiet moments where Sophie and Robert develop their back stories are a gentle delight. In a story where positioning of trust is crucial but never straightforward or obvious, it helps immensely that the two main characters are what they seem. Robert Langdon is a self-proclaimed nerd, who always waits for the walk sign at busy junctions, Sophie’s attempt to give him a cuddle is both funny and touching. You might expect a love interest but, again, its absence is noted and clever.

It’s good to see the theatre nudging full and busy. And, if you’re one of the 80 million, it’s time to get back involved. It’s worth it.

Directed by Luke Sheppard the action continues to 26-02-22.

Jane Howard


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