The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a National Theatre stage adaptation based on the novel written by Mark Haddon. I have read the book but this was many years ago so the story was not at the forefront of my mind when I watched the UK tour at the Leeds Grand Theatre the other week. The narrative follows Christopher, a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, as he tries to uncover the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog after he is initially accused of the crime. It follows his talent for analytical, deductive skills whilst he struggles to engage with basic social interactions. It takes a difficult subject matter and deals with it wonderfully.
The creative and production teams have created a theatrical masterpiece here. The stage at first glance looks like a very basic set with a grid covering the floors and walls with nothing but a few stools around the edge. The clever use of lights and projections though catapults it into a visual tour de force that keeps your eyes glued to the stage in order to not miss anything. These, along with the well interpreted sound and music plus the clever, powerful and well-choreographed use of physical theatre, show off the juxtaposition of the calm, still moments in Christopher’s life and the chaotic, overstimulated moments when he has one of his episodes of “behavioural problems”.
To bring this vision to life the cast are perfectly drilled and magnanimous in their performances. They take you through extreme emotions throughout the piece from despair to comedy and to heart-warming moments. Many of them play multiple roles and are able to give each enough character, even when only around for a couple of lines.
I am not the biggest fan of straight plays (maybe I’m just uncultured but I love a cheesy singing and dancing number) however this has a strong enough storyline and plenty of action to keep me hooked from start to finish. There is bad language and strobe lighting in the performance so this is something to bear in mind when booking tickets but I would highly recommend for anyone to go. It is a National Theatre triumph.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is currently performing in London and is on tour both in the UK and the US. For tickets to any of these visit the production website here.
Have you seen the show? What did you think? Is it one that you would add to your list?