After a month and a bit off, due to the birth of my daughter. I was back at the Orchard for a night off and was very much looking forward to viewing this play again!
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, is based on one of the world’s best selling novels of the same name by Mark Haddon it tells the story of Christopher a young boy who sees the world a little differently than others. On discovering his neighbour’s dog dead in their front garden, he takes it on himself to solve the mystery of the dogs killer and in doing so solves some mysteries about himself.
Directed by award winning Marianne Elliot, Marianne makes sure that Mark Haddon’s book is brought to live in a beautiful way but also an amazing contribution to Autism Awareness. In the book, author Mark never truly diagnosis Christopher with Autism/Asperger’s but rather is formed of the characteristics of those that Mark has known as friends and peers who have these interesting yet unique quirks. In honesty we all have a little bit of Christopher in us or a unique quirk that we have to do – I for one love my wardrobe colour coordinated! But the way he is portrayed on stage is stunning and although at times it was comical with how he acted around others, it was respectful allowing the audience to go away with more understanding.
The production is not only powerful within its story being told but visually stunning to watch, suited with an amazing graphical simple yet effective set from the mind of Bunny Christie, lighting by Paule Constable and videography by Finn Ross. Complimenting it was also the amazing physical theatre choreographed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett of physical theatre company Frantic Assembly, especially in Act 2 they allowed you to transport into how Christopher’s mind processes that around him. Each move, lift, and step is strong and powerful but the cast made it look easy. You always were surprised at what they would do next but be blown away with enjoyment when they did, looking forward to the next one.
David Breeds leads this cast as Christopher, it was like this role was made for him to perform. He really engulfed the character and ensured that he not only played it beautifully but respectfully. David was instantly likeable to the audience and allowed them to love following his story, the physical theatre seemed to come at ease to him and with each lift and movement it just looked like second nature to him allowing the story to flow swimmingly and have such a powerful impact. David truly stole the show!
Supporting David was Rebecca Root as Siobhan, a teacher/counselor to Christopher. Rebecca had an amazing relationship with David and the both had a very sweet chemistry that was enjoyable to watch. Rebecca ensured that he care and love for Christopher was displayed throughout as she throughout comforted him at his times when he needed her. Showing that she fully understood how to be with him, saw his potential on what he can be and guide him to it. Another beautiful, strong relationship was between Christopher and his Father Ed, portrayed excellently by Tom Peters. Tom showed clearly all the emotions of a father with a son like Christopher, the understanding, the adapting to suit their needs and at times the frustrations that can come with it but, that only came due to the love and wanting the best for his son. I am sure so many parents in the audience could relate – I am sure that I will also come to learn too! This was also shown also by Sophie Stone, who played Christopher’s Mother, Sophie showed a mothers love clearly but also the struggle that comes with it.
With them all was an amazing ensemble that portrayed numerous characters and at times objects! Each making sure each character was different from their last, showing just how talented they all were. You were intrigued and excited to see what they would do next to help with the flow of the story.
Curious Incident is not a play to be missed and is still fresh and powerful as it was when it opened ten years ago. Not only is it fully entertaining – enjoyable from start to finish, mesmerizing you visually, it educates you into a mind that might not be programmed like our own, and accept them for who they are, giving you an insight on his world too and how to be when and if you meet someone like Christopher. You come away blown away by such stunning theatre that will make you want to come back and see it again and again – it really is a Must See production! It really is one of my top 5 plays and for good reason.
I also want to compliment this production on the amazing diversity that they had on stage, within the cast but also the BSL translator. It is amazing to see the growth that theatre and touring productions are bringing to todays communities.
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime plays at the Orchard Theatre until Saturday 14th May 2022, for all ticket information go here. It then finishes its run next week and Wycombe for ticket information go here.