Review: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
| By Harriet Hards
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time tells the story of Christopher Boone, a teenage boy on the autism spectrum who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog. The is currently running at the Gielgud Theatre and the Broadway production just won Best New Play at the Tony Awards. The play is extremely clever in its choreography and all the actors use their physicality to create a really special theatre experience.
Siôn Daniel Young plays Christopher with such authenticity and energy, sucking the audience into Christopher’s incredible mind and world view. The whole play is in the first person, with both Christopher and his teacher Siobhan narrating so the audience remains within his state of mind throughout. He commits to the role, especially the intense physical side, with a professionalism that actors twice his age struggle to master. Christopher’s mathematical mind creates beautiful moments of humour and the scenes where he is overwhelmed or upset are so honest and heartbreaking. Despite this being very much an ensemble play, it would be nothing without the exceptional performance from the lead.
Other important characters include Siobhan (Penelope Moghie) and Christopher’s parents, Ed (Nicholas Tennant) and Judy (Mary Stockley). Both parents were brilliant at showing the audience the brutal reality of their lives, what each of their limits and frustrations are. The rest of the ensemble took on several different roles each, their reactions to Christopher fuelling most of the humorous moments. For such a sensitive subject matter, Curious Incident finds a way to bring out the light moments in a beautiful way, while keeping it honest. This is shown in moments such as Christopher’s difficulty understanding metaphors and his conversations with his neighbours.
The best scenes in this play are certainly the ones where the whole ensemble is involved, often with the help of fantastic lifts and the projections on the scenery. The direction (by Marianne Elliott) is simply a work of genius and the actors carry it out with such grace. This play is at the centre of the West End in terms of creativity and imagination, there are definitely parts that feel almost magical. The atmosphere of the show changes constantly, aided both by the actors and the incredible technology in projections and sound.
We were lucky enough to attend one of the performances where the actors held a Q&A for those who wished to stay behind to learn more about the production and the actors experience working on it. It was really insightful to hear their take on the ambiguous nature to Christopher’s “condition” (it’s left open so that people can see bits of themselves and those they know in Christopher) and how they found the intense physical side (exhausting in rehearsals a.k.a “bootcamp” but now they only have to do it once a night!)
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is a brilliant play and I would highly recommend it to those who wish to see something truly special in the theatre.