Review: Curious Incident Will Impress You From Start To Finish
| By Harriet Wilson
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is a stage adaptation of Mark Haddon's renowned novel. The production is captivating, humorous, creative, and in a refreshing style entirely of its own. Just go with an open mind, and let it impress you from start to finish.
The perspective through which we saw The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time was impressively handled. In a book, it is easy to present the world through one person's eyes; in a play, less so. And yet, within this production, we saw the world entirely through the eyes of Christopher, our protagonist. This worked exceptionally well: the set – at times presented as a huge chalkboard – acted as a reflection of Christopher's mind; the other characters backed up his story.
Although the play was presented through Christopher's perspective, the audience was very able to see the emotional impact that the protagonist had on other characters, even when he was not able to see it himself. Again, this delicately handled idea played out extremely smoothly.
The pace of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time was perfect. At any one moment, it was either meaningful or funny; there was never a 'just okay' scene. Critically, the audience was never laughing at Christopher – but a large degree of light-heartedness did help to make the show easy to watch, and not too intense. Perhaps more importantly, the tone of the show allowed Christopher's positivity to shine through.
Christopher was played by Siôn Daniel Young. The play rested entirely on him and, happily, he played the part flawlessly. He was very good at being charming and, equally, believable. It is only fair to say that the whole audience was extremely attached to Christopher from the start. Another delicate but essential aspect of Siôn Daniel Young's performance was the way in which he was simultaneously engaging and detached – that is, engaging to watch but detached from other characters. Christopher's mathematical reasoning was also extremely well presented. It wasn't at all over the top, but it was suitably prominent.
The rest of the cast were fantastic. Christopher's father Ed, as played by Nicholas Tennant, was extremely impressive. His character was realistic and well handled. It was the scenes between Christopher and his father that really touched me, and that was due to both actors. Unusual for any production, it was essential in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time that the cast allowed the play to revolve around one person – Christopher; it was, after all, framed as his play – and every actor did this at the same time as getting across their individual characteristics.
With regards to the set, costume and props – they were all great. I was especially impressed by the appearance of a puppy at the end of the play. The set, as I have mentioned, was a clever reflection of Christopher's mind. It was relatively understated, but extremely effective. It also helped to define the style of the production, helping it to stand out as unique. I really could not flaw it.
All in all, I would highly recommend this production. It was uplifting, creative and really rather inspirational. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is currently playing at London's Gielgud Theatre.