DAN Brown's blockbusting novel was as captivating as it was contentious when it was released nearly 20 years ago and the film adaptation that followed starring Tom Hanks and Sir Ian McKellen was no different.
Fast forward to the world premiere tour of the stage version of this modern thriller, which I had eyed with trepidation.
How could a fast-paced and complicated tale which flitted from Paris to London to Edinburgh via art galleries, churches and aeroplanes be replicated on stage I wondered.
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I needn't have worried. Theatre geniuses have surprised me before and no doubt they'll do it again. But the staging of The Da Vinci Code really was something special. Striking video projections and an ever-changing set kept the excitement and intrigue going throughout a breathless adventure through the streets of Europe.
Christopher Harper (Coronation Street) is our beloved Harvard professor, the symbologist Robert Langdon, a role he plays with just the right mix of geek and genius. He enjoys great chemistry with his fellow fugitive, police cryptologist Sophie Neveu, who plays the role with real heart and becomes the central figure.
The pair are brought together as they attempt to solve the brutal murder of the curator of The Louvre, who is also Sophie's grandfather, whose body was surrounded by a series of baffling clues.
As they begin to unravel a riddle which goes right to the very heart of Christianity, they encounter learned acquaintance Sir Leigh Teabing. Danny John-Jules, of Red Dwarf and Death in Paradise fame, is brilliant in this role, striking a wonderful balance between cockiness, comedy and criminality.
At two hours ten minutes in length, it's certainly a fast-paced play, but it's also surprisingly funny. Monty Python and Indiana Jones references in a story about The Holy Grail weren't a great surprise. Harry Potter too includes some symbolism, but I hadn't expected to hear any Covid jokes!
Fans of the book and film will not be disappointed and anyone new to the story will find the leaner stage adaptation absolutely thrilling.
The Da Vinci Code runs until Saturday. Tickets from mayflower.org.uk or call 023 8071 1811.
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