Adapted from Mark Haddon’s book of the same name, this The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time tells the story of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old who is exceptionally gifted at maths yet struggles with social interactions and many every day tasks. Christopher finds his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, murdered in her garden and decides to begin an investigation into who could be the culprit, recording all of his interactions in a book. A simplistic description of the plot does little to capture the magic that is this production. Yes, this is a story about Christopher, but through his interactions with those he encounters it becomes so much more, an exploration of humanity itself.
Playwright Simon Stephens does a phenomenal job of translating the play to the stage. He remains faithful to the much loved book, yet manages to tailor it to everything that makes theatre so enjoyable. To say that the set and staging are amazing would be a criminal understatement. The ingenious multimedia set transports you into Christopher’s world, giving you an insight into how he sees things, with Christopher’s diagrams springing to life on the walls. One of the things most striking about the book is Christopher’s sensory overload by the sights and sounds of busy London. Haddon’s words really created a sense of palpable distress that I was certain could not be replicated. Yet this fantastic production proved me wrong. The abstract use of sound, light and stage combine to transport you straight into Cristopher’s mind. Director Marianne Elliott does a great job of bringing together all these different elements to create a truly immersive experience.
This production has been through many cast changes since its debut at The National Theatre and it’s a worry to any fan of the original if the new casts are able to replicate the initial magic. There’s no question here that they do: Joshua Jenkins is fantastic as Christopher, never failing to capture his vulnerability and confusion. Stuart Laing and Emma Beattie are brilliant as Christopher’s parents Ed and Judy, each of them is vulnerable in their own way, burdened by circumstances. Laing in particular really captures the essence of Ed; its impossible not to feel a rush of sympathy for him in the moments where he breaks down in front of Christopher. Rounding out the main cast is Julie Hale, playing Christopher’s support worker at school, Siobhan.
Words cannot describe how brilliant this performance is and honestly, any fan of theatre should treat themselves to it. As the cast took their bows, I don’t think I could see a single person seated, we were all up and giving this play the standing ovation it clearly deserved.