Last Updated on December 3, 2021
Triumphant Return of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
I first saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night in 2012 in the intimacy of the Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre, where I was blown away by this extraordinary show which beautifully combines physical theatre with technology. Marion Elliot’s award-winning production of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel adapted by Simon Stephens has since successfully gone on to transfer to three theatres, with three different casts and to receive seven Olivier Awards. So, nine years later I was thrilled to go and see the production again, but this time in less intimate surroundings at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, which houses a huge rack-seated audience. I was slightly unsure how well it would transfer into such a large space; however, I was equally enthralled.
The end on, black box stage creates the perfect vessel for the incredibly impressive video projections (designed by Finn Ross) and Bunny Christie’s awe-inspiring grid-based design concept, demonstrating the structured square box world which Christopher Boone, a neurodivergent boy inhabits. It also brilliantly externalises his personal processes through the visuals and you were able to get a real feel for the sensory overload he experiences. On the night of my visit, fifteen-year-old Christopher was played with remarkable sensibility and matter-of-factness by neurodivergent actor Connor Curren. ‘Curious Incident’ opens with Christopher discovering his neighbour’s dog murdered on the lawn, and deciding against his father’s wishes, to investigate further.
The narrative is very much from Christopher’s perspective, but what unfolds is the tragic story of a family torn apart. His weary father Ed, deftly played by Tom Peters, had been left by his wife for neighbour Mr Roger Shears (Ashley Gerlach). Ed’s patience is tested to the full, as he struggles to keep the calm and manage within the confines of Christopher’s rigid world. Rebecca Root delivers a touching performance as Christopher’s teacher Siobhan, who is perhaps his only friend and ally, she narrates his story by reading excerpts from his diary. When Christopher chooses to search for his mother leaving Swindon on his own for the first time. He embarks on a terrifying journey of self-discovery to London which exposes all his anxieties and also provides a pivotal moment in the play as he seeks to overcome them and function in the world.
Sophie Stone as Christopher’s mum Judy gives a powerfully affecting and emotional performance, which allows the audience to empathise and understand the decisions she has made. Ultimately this is an ensemble theatre piece that uses vivid and dynamic movement and physical theatre, which is wonderfully directed by the much-respected duo Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett from Frantic Assembly. It is both visually and artistically impressive, reflecting contemporary culture and speaking to the sensibilities of the younger generation.
This untraditional coming of age story is one of empowerment…beautiful, moving and definitely one to see.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Troubadour Wembley Park
3 Fulton Rd,
Wembley HA9 0SP
Runs until 9 January 2022
The production which is celebrating its 10th anniversary will tour the UK and Ireland in 2022. There are performances planned across the country including Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Leeds so check for the nearest location to you.
Also showing currently and highly recommended is Life of Pi at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End, London