Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, UK Tour at the Aylesbury Waterside

I've seen The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time three times now and each and every time, I am still amazed at how beautiful the piece is and how original their way of storytelling comes across. The story is unique and the show as a whole is visually stunning and considering it's such a small and easy show to take around, it transfers onto a regional stage perfectly as well.

If you haven't read the book that this play is based on by author Mark Haddon then you are probably in a serious minority. It seems to be a book that so many people have either read or heard of, which is something I'd failed to notice before the play's success. The story follows 15 year old Christopher Boone who is on the autistic spectrum and has a penchant for maths, science and being observant. We meet Christopher as he finds out that his neighbour Mrs Sheilds's dog has been brutally murdered with a garden fork and against the will of his father, he tries to find out who killed the dog. Along the way, Christopher discovers things he never knew about his childhood while also trying to overcome issues he faces as a young sufferer of autism. The play has the ability to almost be a parody of a person with autism, but Simon Stephens's excellent adaptation from page to stage and the sublime performances by the cast make it a gorgeous insight into Christopher's mind instead.

Scott Reid as Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The beauty about the play in comparison to the book is that we get to explore so many more characters in much greater depth, as the book is told from Christopher's perspective. Simon Stephens actually mentioned this to me in an interview that we did over the phone the other week: he explained to me that his favourite part about taking the story from the book onto the stage at the National Theatre was having the chance to explore how the other characters were feeling. When he read the book, he said he was desperate to know how the father really handled living with Christopher and how looking after him had an affect on him and that's plain to see in the piece. It seems as though, despite Christopher is the main character, every character in the play has their chance to shine in their own special way and it's their opinions and reactions towards Christopher's behaviour which help to shape and nuance the character further.

A great story like this can't be told without a fantastic cast, though. Scott Reid takes on the role of Christopher Boone with excellence in a pre-meditated and intelligent performance to remember. The role of Christopher was given to newcomers when the West End and Broadway runs began and both of those actors won an Olivier and a Tony respectively for their performances, so I was worried about how a more seasoned actor would approach the role. It didn't make any difference though and the performance was just as raw and fresh as any others that I have seen, which was amazing. Lucianne McEvoy plays Christopher's school teacher Siobhan - one of my favourite characters - and does so wonderfully. She's a character that also tends to narrate the story and in a strange way, there is a sort of angelic nature to her as she seems to float above everyone else; she only speaks to someone who isn't Christopher once in the play and when she does so, it feels very strange. McEvoy's performance is subtle and understated in a way that fits the role perfectly and I loved her in it.

Christopher visits London in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Bunny Christie is a genius and I say so every single time I see some of her set design at play and Curious Incident is where I originally fell in love with her. No one can design a set quite like she can and this set is so original and so wonderfully tailor-made to the show that I can't imagine it being told in any other way. It's almost as though the show is performed in a black box made of chalkboard, which has opening doors in it and LED lights... I told you it was unique. Talking of lights, Paule Constable designed the lighting for the piece and she is a genius as per usual as well. Marianne Elliott's direction is also on its A-game in the piece. In short: some of the greatest creatives I know worked on this play and it was some of the best work they've ever done, which is probably why they all won Olivier and Tony Awards for their work.

The company of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, now on a UK tour

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time premiered at the National Theatre nearly six years ago now and has already become a modern classic play in its own right. It is funny, thought provoking, witty and intelligent all at the same time as well as being artistically challenging, rule-bending and original. If you haven't already seen the show in London - which closes in June - or you want to go and see the show again, now is your chance. Because if you miss out on this, then you will live to regret it.

Tickets to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Aylesbury Waterside are available here with other venues on sale here. Tickets to see the show in the West End before it closes on June 3rd available here and you can read my interview with the show's Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens here.

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