Tuesday, September 29, 2015

'The Curious Incident'

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre, London
Performance: Tuesday 7th July 2015
Cast: Siôn Daniel Young (Christopher Boone), Rebecca Lacey (Siobhan/ensemble), Nicolas Tennant (Ed/ensemble), Mary Stockley (Judy/ensemble)
Director: Marianne Elliott

When I received Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Christmas years ago, it took me two days to finish it. I thought it one of the most intriguing novels I had ever read, one of a kind, and I readily recommended it to friends and relatives. Therefore I am slightly ashamed of how long it took me to go and see the stage production even after it received top reviews from every imaginable direction. I just never seemed to get round to it. The novel (and play) tells the story of 15 year-old Christopher who has Asperger’s syndrome. He excels in maths, and likes taking care of his pet rat, Toby. When the neighbour’s dog, Wellington, gets killed, Christopher decides to investigate the case and finds out more than he was perhaps supposed to.

We had seats in the front row of the balcony and the view was absolutely fine. There was nothing we could not see from where we were sitting. I have a feeling the view would have been more restricted from the rear stalls due to the overhang. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play).jpg

The plot of the play is faithful to the original work. The novel isn’t particularly big and I felt like the play had been stretched out a little unnecessarily (it was as long as a musical!). Particularly the second act was very slow-paced. That is my biggest criticism.

The set is genius and the miniature railway Christopher builds throughout the first act provides continuity and a spectacular finish to the first act both visually and in aiding the story. I have nothing but outmost respect to the ASMs on this show as a single misplaced piece of train track could cause the entire first act to go horribly wrong.

The show is heavy on physical theatre and the set effectively consisted of a few white boxes which were moved around by the actors to create different scenes from a train to Christopher’s neighbourhood.

I was incredibly impressed with Young’s portrayal of Christopher. Playing a character with Asperger’s syndrome convincingly is challenging to begin with no to mention that Christopher hardly leaves the stage. Luke Treadaway who originated the role won the 2013 Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance.

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