After winning a staggering 7 Olivier Awards, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time has fast become the hottest show in theatre land. Never wanting to miss out on the action, I managed to get my hands on some highly-sought after tickets and caught an evening performance last Thursday 23rd May.
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I arrived at the Apollo Theatre on the iconic Shaftesbury Avenue with a fairly blank canvas with regards to the show. Having not read Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel, I decided not to devour too many reviews to ensure I formed my own opinions of the play. As I entered the theatre all I knew was that:
1. The play was about a boy with Autism
2. It had won a record-breaking 7 Olivier Awards
3. I was extremely intrigued to find out the story behind such an unusual title
Before the play began I found myself in awe of the simplistic but effective set, which consisted of a cube with a futuristic grid of lights running through it. Fitting the length and width of the stage, it wasn’t until the play began that the sheer diversity of the set became apparent. With moving walls, animations, projections and climb-able walls, the set was truly 3D and a huge spectacle within itself.
The opening scene begins with a dead dog centre stage – which looked brutally life-like – along with 15 year old autistic boy Christopher. When he is accused by his neighbour of killing the dog, he sets about a detective investigation to discover who was behind the murder of his next door neighbour’s dog, Wellington. The further into his investigation he gets, the more the plot unravels and he ends up discovering secrets about his own family as well as his neighbours.
Luke Treadaway plays the role of Christopher with mesmerising skill, portraying highly accurate mannerisms, language and movement of a boy with autism. Moving around the stage with such grace and ease, I didn’t need to read the programme to know Luke has a background in dance. His graceful movements worked perfectly with the many scenes featuring ensemble physical theatre throughout the play.
I particularly loved the part in which Christopher daydreams about becoming an astronaut where simple lighting, movement and imagination transformed the stage into an intergalactic quest. Many of Christopher’s’ endearingly innocent lines provided some gorgeous light hearted relief amongst the more dramatic scenes. Incredible acting is also delivered from Holly Aird and Niamh Cusack who play Christopher’s Mother Judy and Christopher’s school teacher and mentor Siobhan.
If you’re lucky enough to go along, make sure you hang around after the curtain call. An extremely unexpected encore comes in the form of Christopher solving an impressive maths equation which is referred to earlier in the play. I was half way out of the theatre when Luke reappeared on stage, but instantly stopped in my tracks to see him solve the puzzle. It made for a truly memorable ending and another way that set this play apart from all the others.
Combining mesmerising spectacle with a heart-wrenching story telling, it’s no wonder why the play was awarded a record breaking number of Olivier Awards. At the risk of going overboard, it was quite easily the best play I have ever seen and I was hooked from start to finish. Whilst all the action takes place inside a cube, The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time is a play which certainly thinks outside the box.
See Marketing & Commercial Director Darren Neylon’s Review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time
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