Review: The Da Vinci Code, The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

IF you are one of the 100 million people who devoured Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code you will be enthralled from the moment the curtain lifts and the body of Louvre curator Sauniere who has been murdered is found in the famous French gallery.

For the next two hours be prepared to be intrigued and excited as this labyrinthine story unfolds to a satisfying conclusion.

Based on Dan Brown's novel and adapted for stage by playwrights Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel this tour de force is an exceptional production with impressive set design by David Woodhead.

Director Luke Sheppard manages to combine draws on both modern and traditional elements of stagecraft to evoke the historic landscape of The Da Vinci Code.

This is a tale of symbols, religious iconography, cults and family mystery which come together in a strangely complex way.

An excellent performance by Nigel Harman as the quirky symbologist Robert Langdon gives this show a charm which is hard to achieve.

His aide is Sophie Neveu brilliantly played by Hannah Rose Caton in her theatrical debut. The pair share a special on set bond which really kept this production alive.

The set is astounding and a true testament to stagecraft - moving from the Louvre to a country estate and various churches as the team travel the world figuring out how to decipher the messages left for Sophie by her dead grandfather Sauniere.

Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules plays the eccentric billionaire Sir Leigh Teabing with as much sass as one would expect from such a professional and really brought the character to life through the production.

Special mention must go to Joshua Lacey who excelled as self flagellating mad monk Silas who cuts a terrifying and yet pathetic character throughout the play.

Conspiracy theorists will love this production and if you are one of the few people who hasn't read Dan Brown's novel - like me - you will enjoy the twists and turns even more.

If you have read the book you will enjoy the production for its production values and stylish settings.

The Da Vinci Code is at The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham until Saturday March 26.