REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time makes triumphant return to Brum
The award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time makes a triumphant return to Birmingham Hippodrome for one week only.
The popular show is now playing to Birmingham audiences until Saturday 2 April.
Back by popular demand, the Olivier and Tony award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is currently playing at the Birmingham Hippodrome as part of a UK and Ireland tour, marking ten years of the production which originated at the National Theatre.
The play, adapted by Simon Stephens from the bestselling novel by Mark Haddon, tells the story of teenager Christopher Boone who displays signs of Asperger’s syndrome. The play opens in a dramatic and nightmarish manner, with sound and lights flashing across the stage. Young Christopher is standing beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog, which has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and the boy is under suspicion and taken into custody by a policeman.
Christopher records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington the dog. He has an extraordinary brain and is exceptional at mathematics, while everyday life presents some barriers. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his domineering father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
The stage adaptation of the popular novel is directed by Olivier and Tony award winner Marianne Elliott (War Horse). Elliott’s psychological direction allows the themes of the drama to unfold across the vast stage of the Hippodrome which is sparsely decorated to conjure up the surreal and fragmented world of young Christopher.
The art design by Bunny Christie is a lesson in economy. Less is sometimes more, and that is definitely the case in this production. The spartan set design immediately transports the audience into the fragile world of Christopher. The words in his world become the landscape upon which he builds his daily existence.
The immersive sound design by Ian Dickinson is very effective and imaginative, and it keeps the momentum of the play moving along briskly.
Connor Curren, who takes on the role of Christopher, is energetic as he runs around the stage building up his physical world and engaging with his father and neighbours. The ensemble cast work hard through both acts of the play, producing convincing performances that also includes acrobatic choreography in several key moments. The cast members also share a warm and trusting chemistry which makes the unfolding drama more human and emotional.
Since 2012, Curious Incident has been seen by more than five million people worldwide, including two UK tours, two West End runs, a Broadway transfer, a specially adapted schools tour which has visited more than 100 schools around the UK and was seen by over 12,000 young people, a National Theatre Live cinema broadcast, and tours to the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia and 30 cities across the USA.
Curious Incident is the winner of seven Olivier Awards including Best New Play, Best Director, Best Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Sound Design. Following its New York premiere in September 2014, it became the longest-running play on Broadway in over a decade.
Alongside the theatrical tour, a programme of activity including discussions on depictions of neurodivergence in fictional characters will be available online.
This psychological show makes a poignant plea for understanding and compassion for our fellow human beings who have qualities that often leave them unfairly labelled as outsiders.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 2 April.