The National Theatre’s award winning production of Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time, has been wowing audiences since its premier in the National’s Cottesloe Theatre on 2nd August 2012.
Adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott, Curious introduces us to a very special person, literal-minded, utterly remarkable, mathematics genius, Christopher Boone. Luckily for us the National Theatre are taking the show on the road in a much anticipated UK tour beginning at The Lowry on 18th December 2014.
The play follows fifteen year old Christopher (Graham Butler) after he discovers the shocking murder of his neighbour’s dog Wellington, who is found on the front lawn after being stabbed with a garden fork. Christopher sets about on a mission to solve the mystery of the murder whilst documenting his findings along the way. Christopher is on the autistic spectrum and is a truly remarkable boy. Like many autistic people Christopher sees the world very differently to perhaps you and I, for one he truly sees the world, he notices everything around him and observes every physical detail in his environment, not just cows in a field but the number of cows, how many were stood up, how many were sat down, how many were black, how many were white, in fact everything Christopher sees is in exact and minute detail. His brain is complex and fascinating, metaphors don’t make sense and people are generally confusing. Touch is something Christopher is uncomfortable with yet the scenes in the play when he does make physical contact with his parents are perhaps some of the most poignant and emotional scenes in whole production.
As a reviewer I’m lucky enough to see lots of productions, it is very rare however to see a production and feel lost for words, Curious completely bowled me over, I found it emotional, funny, sad, emotive, heart-warming and completely fascinating. The National Theatre have produced an absolutely perfect piece of theatre. As a lover of Mark Haddon’s book and someone with a close family member with autism I desperately hoped the production would be everything I’d wanted it to be, I really didn’t need to worry, it exceeded and indeed completely smashed my expectations. If I’d been asked to stay and watch it again immediately I would have happily taken my seat again, it is no wonder the production won an incredible 7 Olivier Awards including Best Play in 2013.
Each and every member of the cast is exceptional, Graham Butler as Christopher is faultless, I was left in complete awe by his performance, it is such a physically and emotionally challenging role. The relationship he has with Siobhan (Sarah Woodward) is beautiful; Siobhan is the calm in Christopher’s storm, she totally and utterly believes in him. Woodward and Butler portrayed this touching relationship beautifully.
Complementing the brilliant cast is a truly stunning set, the staging of this production really is superb and is in effect part of the cast it is so involved in every aspect of what happens on stage and the cast use it to absolute perfection. Designer Bunny Christie, Lighting Designer Paule Constable, Video Designer Finn Ross and Sound Designer Ian Dickinson have created something truly magical.
With a new touring cast well into their rehearsals North West audiences are the lucky ones who get to see this production first. Joshua Jenkins will be taking on the role of Christopher when the tour opens at the Lowry, before heading off round the country as part of the 31 city stops the production will take in. If you plan on seeing one piece of theatre this Christmas time then get yourself to The Lowry immediately, it’s a truly magical piece of theatre, challenging, emotional, entertaining and totally special, just like the utterly fabulous Christopher Boone.