THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
The show will continue its run from 24th June 2014 at the Gielgud
WWW.CURIOUSONSTAGE.COM NOMINATED FOR EIGHT OLIVIER AWARDS
THEATRE REVIEW FOR THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE GUIDE & GURU
www.theatreperform.com BY MICHAEL DARTON
Numbers, words, teachers, neighbours, parents, dogs, people, places, trains, theories, death and noises are all created/presented to give meaning, but perception is personal to the individual, as we are shown in this masterpiece playing at London’s Apollo Theatre.
Christopher Boone was played by Johnny Gibbon (Johnny Gibbon plays the role on Monday and Tuesday) the night I saw ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (based on the award winning book by Mark Haddon). Johnny’s acting and stagecraft deserve an award; surprisingly, this is his professional stage debut. The story centres on Christopher, who in the book describes himself as ‘someone who has behavioural problems’. The writer of the book, Mark Haddon, regrets that the phrase ‘Asperger Syndrome’ appeared on the cover of the book when it was first published, as the book is written by Christopher and ‘Asperger Syndrome’ is not a phrase he uses. Christopher’s endurance of the world around him unfolds through skilful and creative multi-disciplinary performances. The madness he experiences high-lights the reasons why disorders in our youth may exist.
This is a powerful piece of theatre that hits you from the very start. It is exquisitely directed by Marianne Elliott and the beautiful design and innovation are by Bunny Christie, who blends simplistic hi-tech design, which is fascinating to watch. Paule Constable’s lighting and Ian Dickinson’s sound design complement all the staging to perfection and strike the right balance of pace to allow the audience to access the characters and enjoy the effects without being overwhelmed. Christopher’s aspirations to become an astronaut are demonstrated by actors holding him as stars spin around the huge black box; he defies gravity and visits space with his pet rabbit Toby. This sounds slightly crass when writing about it but the effect of this is outstanding as we travel with Christopher to all that exists in his mind.
The piece presents the story of how Christopher’s unique feelings and understanding of the world are pieced together – and how he unravels the mysteries surrounding these. The first is the discovery of a dead dog killed by a garden fork. Christopher’s simplistic and creative world often seems to make more sense than all the responsible parents, teachers and laymen, who create more confusion for the already overwhelmed boy.
There is wonderful casting and performances throughout, played to perfection by the group of actors. The scenes, conversations, plot and character development move swiftly through the story, as it develops into confusion and more revelations. It is a piece that shows off what the National Theatre does best, and this is to create theatre that is thought provoking but also highly enjoyable. As Mark Haddon states, Curious is not really about Christopher at all; it is about us. I think this is why the piece is so interesting as well as so moving.
TICKET AND BOOKING – Ticket prices range from £12 to £57.50, with 150 tickets at £12 each available for every performance. Booking Until 4th January 2014 Apollo Theatre, 31 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7EZ – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7.30pm Tuesdays at 7pm Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm – There are no performances on alternate Mondays. Please check website for dates. National Theatre Box Office No Booking fee Telephone 020 7452 3000 Online from www.nationaltheatre.org.uk – Nimax Theatres Box Office With booking fee Telephone 0844 412 4658.(An allocation of £12 Day Seats will be available for every performance from the Apollo Theatre box office from 10am) Schools Groups (10 plus) Grand Circle £35 reduced to £20, 1 teacher free for every 10 pupils paid. (Excluding peak weeks and subject to availability). Booking fee applies. 0844 482 9678 Education and Schools: For more information about the accompanying Learning programme contact NT Learning on 020 7452 3388 or firstname.lastname@example.org