REVIEW: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time @ The National Theatre (Encore edition)

You’ve probably read Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time – or at the very least, heard rave reviews about it. When it was first published in 2003, it was met with critical acclaim. However, at no point of reading it does this largely insular tale jump out as an obvious choice to be translated on to the stage.

Thank heavens, then, for the creative genius of Simon Stephans and Marianne Taylor who between them, have created a play that crackles with energy and seamlessly blends Christopher’s inner thoughts with a lively, animated setting.

The premise of both the novel and the play is this: 15-year-old Christopher finds the corpse of his neighbour’s dog; the mutt has a pitchfork sticking out of its side. Christopher – who has Asperger syndrome – endeavours to find out who killed the dog, and why. As he begins his investigation, a house-of-cards series of events unfolds, and Christopher’s life is turned upside down.

curious incident of the dog

The play setting is fantastic: the version I watched saw the whole of the play acted out in the center of the audience, with clever visuals and lighting creating the illusion of the solar system, the Underground, inside a house, etc. A lot of this is reliant on the cast’s movements; they jolt around to simulate the train, they buff into Christopher to simulate the confusion of a busy street. You almost instantly forgot you were watching a play (or in my case, watching a screening of a play); rather, you quickly became immersed in Christopher’s quest for truth, and justice for Wellington the dog.

Luke Treadaway was simply fantastic as the complex Christopher; confident yet wary, brilliant yet brittle. Una Stubbs, Nicola Walker and Niamh Cusack also had starring roles; the cast for the new run of the play (running from June this year until February 2015) looks just as strong.

If you can see the play, you really must – it’s eye-opening, illuminating and utterly fantastic.

Book tickets for the play here.

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