Dan Brown bestseller The Da Vinci Code brought brilliantly to life on stage at Nottingham Theatre Royal

A global best-selling book bought tens of millions of times and a film adaptation starring Tom Hanks – The Da Vinci Code, originally penned by Dan Brown, has been under the spotlight since it hit the shelves in 2003.

By Martin Hutton
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:59 pm
Hannah Rose Caton as Sophie Neveu with Nigel Harman as Robert Langdon. Photo by Johan Persson
Hannah Rose Caton as Sophie Neveu with Nigel Harman as Robert Langdon. Photo by Johan Persson

Now the tale, featuring lead character, symbologist Robert Langdon, has been carefully crafted into a stage version that started its delayed run at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal on Tuesday.

It’s no mean feat condensing such a hefty tome and detailed story into effectively a two-hour show while retaining the integrity of Brown’s work.

But it is done extremely skilfully by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, backed up with acting excellence, smooth set design and a perfectly pitched atmosphere.

The best compliment I can pay is that the show is engaging for all viewers, whether you’ve read the book, seen the movie or enjoyed neither.

The Da Vinci Code is actually the second Brown book to feature Harvard professor Langdon after Angels and Demons.

And the premise of this is the search for the Holy Grail and the possibility that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had a child together, therefore starting a bloodline that still exists today.

Langdon, played here by former Eastenders star Nigel Harman, is brought into the equation when, on a lecture visit to Paris, he is contacted by Louvre curator Jacques Saunière. But before Langdon can meet his illustrious peer the latter is murdered.

Langdon is summoned by police to the museum where Sauniere’s body has been elaborately positioned in the shape of Da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man and it is soon clear he is a prime suspect in the death.

It’s here we meet cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Hannah Rose Caton) and the pair become involved in a complex cat and mouse game with the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei – a tool of which, albino monk Silas, is responsible for the death of Sauniere and three other Priory members charged with keeping a secret 2,000 years in the making.

What follows is a complex search through involved clues embedded in architecture, works of Da Vinci, tributes to Sir Isaac Newton – all perppered with puzzles, mystery and intrigue.

And it’s fitting that with the foundations of the book and play based in symbols, and their hidden meanings, the set, designed by David Woodhead, features such tremendous imagery.

Other fantastic performances come from the likes of former Red Dwarf hero Danny John-Jules as Grail obsessed eccentric English billionaire Sir Leigh Teabing, who isn’t all he seems, and the haunting portrayal of Silas by Joshua Lacey.

Packed with on-stage chemistry, eerie conspiracies, myth, legend and genius, this is a show not to be missed.

There’s still chance to enjoy it at the Theatre Royal where it runs until Saturday (January 22). For ticket details, CLICK HERE.