The stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s bestselling novel, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time – about a teenage maths genius with asperger’s syndrome (a form of autism) has proved a huge hit at the Apollo theatre in London.
The National Theatre’s smash-hit show was a complete sell-out last year and since transferring in to London’s West End tickets have been selling fast and it is now booking through to October 2014.
The play, based on Mark Haddon’s novel, is an original interpretation with humour and compassion. Mark Haddon in fact dislikes the Asperger’s tag and prefers the character, Christopher Boone’s own description of himself as “someone who has Behavioural Problems.” Marianne Elliott’s beautiful and ingenious production manages to be theatrical while remaining entirely true to the spirit of the book.
A scene from The Curious Incident
Christopher, whose condition means he can only ever tell the truth, is determined to discover who was responsible for murdering the neighbour’s dog. In the process, this aspiring Sherlock Holmes and genius maths prodigy uncovers some uncomfortable truths about his family and the way adults lie to children and to each other.
Christopher’s warm-hearted teacher at his special needs school, reads the book he writes about his attempts to solve the mystery of a dog that was brutally killed in a neighbour’s garden, and decides to stage it as a play.
Award-winning, Luke Treadaway is superb as 15-year old Christopher and gives a simply remarkable performance that is both poignant and moving. Christopher displays relentless logical thought processes and makes no concessions towards being liked. The character cannot bear to be touched and has a host of quirky mannerisms, groans and flailing anger and petulance.
Teacher Siobhan, wonderfully played by Niamh Cusack, becomes the narrator of his novel about his Sherlock Holmes-style investigation into the death of his neighbour’s dog. Once Christopher’s book is turned in to a school play, the under-lying humour emerges as Christopher, playing himself, pedantically criticises others’ performances.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is hugely entertaining and witty whilst being an insightful examination of how we present ourselves to each other. The show also touches on the difficulties of parenting, the awkwardness of life and relationships, and above all looks at the torment of a child who cannot bear to be touched. That world is often a surreal and scary place, but oddly beautiful and bizarre, too.
The brilliant stage design is by Bunny Christie’s and the superb design inspires infinite possibilities and multiplying confusions are represented in squares and numbers, and a toy trains puffs around the stage.
The show is both poignant and humorous and whilst tugging at the heart strings at times it avoids being over-sentimental. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a fantastic play that is not to be missed.
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