“The Curious Incident of The Dog In the Night Time” adapted by Simon Stephens.
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
This is the second time that I’ve seen this play and is one of those plays that you will want to keep returning to because of the pure magic of the show.I know that I will.
The book, written by Mark Haddon, was the winner of over 17 literary awards in 2004, and the play, adapted by Simon Stephens, has won 7 Olivier Awards in 2013 and 5 Tony Awards in 2015.
Christopher, fifteen years old and an Asperger’s sufferer, stands beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion.
He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
A murder mystery that is not quite run of the mill. In his line of detecting and investigating, he solves the mystery and in the process of doing so, unravels several other mysteries closer to home.
The play takes you inside the brain of Christopher and lets you see what it’s like through his eyes to suffer from Asper’s Syndrome, and how different the world presents itself to Christopher.
Scott Reid (Christopher) deserves every credit for his performance of the 15 year old sleuth. He seems to get the anxieties of being touched, strangers, even the colour yellow and the mindset of Asperger sufferers spot on.
The role is also a very physical one, borrowing from contemporary dance and ballet in some sections, other bits remind you of circus skills.
David Michaels, who plays Christopher’s drained but devoted father is particularly good (as are all the cast) in his role. You can really feel his frustration.
Emma Beattie, who plays Judy, Christopher's mum, also delivers an amazingly passionate performance, torn between three men in her life, but always putting Christopher first.
Lucianne McEvoy, Christopher's mentor at school is also worthy of a special mention as the understanding teacher who tries to teach Christopher about how to act within society's complex guidelines.
Director Marianne Elliott brings the emotional world of Christopher to life, unafraid to let a silent space say more than words can evoke. Designer Bunny Christie has done a fantastic job on the space age set. That alone is worthy of viewing with its' bottomless pit of openings and secretions.
Lighting Designer Paule Constable has created an amazing light set which is also incredibly exciting to watch. It creates atmosphere that you need to see to get the full ideas behind it.
That's one thing that is so difficult to try and get across in this play. It is so difficult to actually put across in words just how brilliant and magical this wonderful piece of theatre actually is. It needs to be seen to experience the glory of the writing and technical wizadry.
Video Designer Finn Ross and, again, an amazing job that you can't begin to describe. It needs to be seen to get the full effect and magic.
Music by Adrian Sutton, creating yet more atmosphere to an already mystical story.
Movement Directors and Fight Choreography Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett are like choreographical magicians. They make Christopher fly in space and slow motion leap onto rail way tracks. It's like the theatrical version of The Matrix.
And if a great story, incredible visual effects, amazing acting, incredible lighting and visual effects aren't enough, they also have the cutest Labrador puppy you've ever seen outside a toilet roll commercial.
Stay until after the curtain call as well because Christoper is back to explain a mathematical calculation which really is more entertaining than it may sound and so much better than an encore.
"The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime" is unravelling all the way until Saturday 15 April 2017. It's one not to be missed and one theatre show that I can't rate highly enough.