It’s back on tour – one of my favourite plays and a piece of theatre that if you only watch one this year I implore you to book tickets for this one. Never has a production made me put everything I know into perspective and re-think about how I see the world. What a powerful 2 hours….
When I took my seat in the Birmingham Hippodrome last night I wasn’t quite prepared for what I was about to see. I’d read parts of the book in my psychology class when studying behavioural difficulties but didn’t know the whole story and all I’d heard about the production was how incredible it was – big claims indeed. When the house lights went down we were instantly taken on an emotional journey into Christopher’s world, a journey that would tell us about The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time.
With 7 Olivier Awards under its belt this production has been recognised by experts across the country as the truly magical and moving adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best selling novel. For those unfamiliar with the book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time sees Christopher, a 15 year old boy with an incredible mind but difficulty interacting in social situations attempt to solve the mystery of who killed his next door neighbours dog, Wellington. Christopher begins his detective work and along the way unearths some terrible secrets that change his world completely.
[otw_shortcode_quote border=”bordered” border_style=”bordered”] It truly blew me away.[/otw_shortcode_quote]
Press night’s at the theatre are often a very busy and social affair and I really enjoy chatting away to others in the industry over a glass of wine in the interval. But last night was different. Last night at the interval I found myself frantically trying to touch up the foundation streaks that had been left on my cheeks and simply wanting to sit with my theatre partner and reflect quietly on what we’d just seen. I found the first half (and the second) so incredibly moving it was hard to put into words, and although I didn’t leave the stage humming show tunes or belly-laughing my way back to the train station like other productions I’d seen recently, I did leave with a new sense of self and purpose that nearly knocked me off my feet.
The lighting used in this play is outstanding. The whole stage bright with a plethora of different colours (blue playing a large part) lighting up, flashing and illuminating the story around a mathematical grid the actors used for movement. The play manages to make you feel, relate and understand every characters actions or thoughts (good and bad) which can be a little emotionally confusing at times – there is no typical ‘baddie’ or ‘hero’ and the difficult issues raised by this story are so seamlessly brought to life you hardly notice until they hit you and stop your thinking in its tracks. Scott Reid (currently playing Christopher) throws his entire soul into the performance making the role incredibly touching and believable and the whole production is an explosion of sensory overload much like Christopher’s life.
Unlike The Bodyguard or Dirty Dancing, The Curous Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time isn’t a play I would see with my girlfriends after a couple of cocktails, it’s a production that needs to be appreciated and absorbed on a whole other level. Although Mark Haddon never references the true nature of Christopher’s condition in his book, the stage production really hammers home the struggle of those on the Autistic Spectrum and with the use of sounds and lights depicts so effortlessly the overload of stimuli and confusion sufferers have to endure on a daily basis. The contrast between Christopher and the other characters on stage was intense, harshly bringing to light how lonely a world in the mind of someone with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder can be when the rest of the world doesn’t seem to have the time or the knowledge to understand.
[otw_shortcode_quote border=”bordered” border_style=”bordered”]Gripping, Moving and Intensely Beautiful, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is an incredible piece of theatre that begs to be seen.[/otw_shortcode_quote]
The use of ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ faces drawn on the set by Christopher through the play are a lovely nod to therapy used with Autistic and Aspergers children and the meta-reference from the play’s narrator towards the end was a very clever symbol of Christopher’s methodical and matter-of-fact way of thinking.
I have to admit I’m a physical theatre geek, and when I found out that Frantic Assembly were Movement Directors for the play I got quite excited. I was lucky enough to have a workshop with Frantic Assembly during my theatre study days – they are phenomenal – and done well, physical theatre really is beautiful to watch. Frantic Assembly simply outdid themselves bringing Christopher’s mind to life on stage. The rhythmic movement of the characters, and physicality of Christopher himself was exquisite and it left me breathless throughout.
[otw_shortcode_quote border=”bordered” border_style=”bordered”]The rhythmic movement of the characters, and physicality of Christopher himself was exquisite and it left me breathless throughout.[/otw_shortcode_quote]
Gripping, Moving and Intensely Beautiful, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is an incredible piece of theatre that begs to be seen.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is currently on UK Tour and showing at the Birmingham Hippodrome
Have you seen this incredible play? What did you think?
Tweet me @xameliax or leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts! #BHCurious