Quick Change Reviews: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time (Tour)
Christopher Boone had never left his home-town of Swindon. That is until he unravels a mystery, that takes him and the audience of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time on a journey that is unforgettable.
The National Theatre production, adapted by award-winning writer, Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, is an important and poignant piece of theatre. It tells the story of a fifteen year old with an extraordinary brain. He adores maths, distrusts strangers and is unable to tell a lie. Being neurodivergent has its challenges, but to solve a mystery that split his family apart, Christopher takes courageous steps and makes big moves.
Connor Curren’s portrayal of the teen is awe-inspiring and delivered with every ounce of determination to justice the portrayal of somebody who is rarely seen in stories. And, he more than delivers. Curren is unstoppable.
Particular touching moments include those shared with Rebecca Root, who plays the kind and trusted teacher, Siobhan. Their relationship is a poised display of mutual trust and understanding that is crucial to the play.
Throughout, Christopher’s relationship with his parents is complex and challenging. His mother (Kate Kordel) is emotional, and father (Tom Peters) tired and inpatient. The powered performances are candid displays of parents who fiercely want to protect their child.
Kordel and Peters also make up part of the ensemble, who are absolutely instrumental to the delivery of the piece. With seamless physical theatre movement choreographed by Frantic Assembly and direction from Marianne Elliot, the ensemble are multi-faced as curious neighbours, busy passers-by, and bewildered police officers, whilst also bringing scenes to life as items found under father’s bed, ticket turnstiles and underground trains .
The set, inventively conjured by Bunny Christie, is dynamic and innovative. Effectively three gridded walls forming part of a cube, there is space for Christopher to express himself using it as a chalkboard or to explore a night sky. Lighting from Paule Constable and music by Adrian Sutton unite in a beautiful frenzy that is arresting. As Christopher embarks on the busy London underground, the scene feels almost horror. Loud sounds and bright lights are intense and destabilising, reflective of how it feels to experience a sensory overload.
In contrast, there are scenes that are completely still with Curren seemingly locked in his own mind; at one with Christopher. For the most part, he is over-energetic, airy even. But as Christopher's world unravels, he becomes exhausted and held captive by fear. His performance is tense and sharp, sweat dripping from his forehead and spit falling from his mouth. It's haunting.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time is genius, and offers glimpses into Christopher’s mind that feel true. We learn that he doesn’t like the colours yellow or brown, that his enjoys a strawberry ice cream and in a gorgeous scene that leads to the interval, that his favourite toy is a train set.
With shy smiles at wry humour and moments of joy that rest heavy on the heart. This is a show that stays with you.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time is currently playing at Nottingham Theatre Royal