THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME: adapted Simon Stephens, Touri, 5Star*****



Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555
Runs: 2h 30m: one interval: till 8th April.
Performance times: 7.30pm, matinees 2.00pm Wed and 2.30pm Sat.
Review: Alan Geary: 4th April 2017.

An outstanding theatrical experience.
This production of Curious Incident has lost none of its brilliance since it was last seen in Nottingham two years back.

You know something special’s afoot even before the action gets underway. It’s an open acting space bounded by a huge black and white space/time graph; you could almost be in an empty designer sports shoe shop. Except, that is, there’s a dead dog centre-stage, pinned to the ground by a garden fork.

Adapted from the acclaimed novel, the play takes you inside the mind of a 15-year-old with Asperger Syndrome setting out to discover who killed next door’s dog. Along the way the audience is invited to look at the universe with new wonder, and to appreciate the beauties of mathematics, astronomy, logic and pattern.

We’re also shown the funny side of AS.

An ensemble piece with actors playing a multitude of characters, this is highly choreographed physical theatre. Lighting, sound and projection, used for instantaneous scene-setting and changing, and more, are extraordinary.

Scott Reid’s Christopher is a remarkable performance. Physical behaviour and text delivery are uncannily well observed and accurate. This is a boy incapable of what we call normal social interaction. Having no innate grasp of metaphorical language, he’s imprisoned by literalism and logic. During a lone Swindon-London train and tube journey he’s bombarded from all sides by a tumult of, to him, incomprehensible and unorganisable sense data. Simultaneously he can identify and remember detail unassimilated by most people.

Other performances are terrific. Chris’s mother, Judy, at her wit’s end, is well done by Emma Beattie. So too is Ed, the more intuitive father, by David Michaels. Lucianne McEvoy is a convincing Siobhan, the teacher at his special school. From time to time Siobhan narrates from the book that Christopher has written, and in a neat meta-theatrical twist turns over the idea of making it into a school production. She and next-door neighbour, Mrs Alexander (Debra Michaels), bring out the underlying humanity of the play.

It’s an intensely moving evening, but never maudlin – even when an adorable real-life Labrador puppy comes on near the end and steals the show.

An outstanding theatrical experience.

Christopher Boone: Scott Reid (Sam Newton at some performances).
Siobhan: Lucianne McEvoy.
Ed: David Michaels.
Judy: Emma Beattie.
Mrs Alexander/Posh Woman: Debra Michaels.
Mrs Shears/Mrs Gascoyne: Eliza Collings.
Roger Shears/Duty Sergeant/Mr Wise: Oliver Boot.
Reverend Peters/Uncle Terry/Station Policeman: Bruce McGregor.
London Policeman: Joel Harper-Jackson.
Lady in Street/Information/Punk Girl: Crystal Condie.

Director: Marianne Elliott.
Designer: Bunny Christie.
Lighting Designer: Paule Constable.
Video Designer: Finn Ross.
Movement Directors: Scott Graham/Steven Hoggett.
Music: Adrian Sutton.
Sound Designer: Ian Dickinson.

2017-04-09 12:10:34

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