Writer: Mark Haddon
Adaptor: Simon Stephens
Director: Marianne Elliott
The stage production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time was created in 2012 at the National Theatre and after a successful few years in London’s West End is now touring the UK – arriving this week at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. “The Curious Incident” tells the story of 15-year-old Christopher Boone (David Breeds) and the struggles that not only he faces, but also the struggles the people around him face when dealing with, and understanding neurodiversity.
In the opening scene, we see a distressed Christopher standing over his neighbour’s dead dog, Wellington (who has been killed with a pitchfork), and as the story unfolds we watch him take on a Sherlock Holmes style investigation to find out who committed such a horrible crime. In the process, he also uncovers some family secrets, and you witness the anxiety and stress that this causes Christopher and also the people he is closest to.
There is a sensory overload on stage, which creates such a powerful visual of how the lead character is feeling inside his own head. The lights are bright, the sounds are loud and it is all very fast-paced, which some audience members may struggle with, but it is so effective. One particular scene that stood out, for this reason, was the scene in the train station. There wasn’t a train in sight, but you felt like you were very much in London’s underground!
The physical theatre/movement elements are great! Created and choreographed by members of Frantic Assembly, cast members are cleverly thrown about and at one-point Breeds even walks around the walls!
Throughout the play, Breeds gives a sensational performance. The speed in which he delivers his lines at times and the slight edgy body movements accentuated what we already knew was going on in the character’s mind. He plays the role perfectly and his performance stirs many emotions.
We see the struggles faced by Christopher’s parents Ed (Tom Peters) and Judy (Sophie Stone) as they learn to deal with having a neurodiverse child and we see how difficult they find it not being able to show their emotions and feelings the way they normally would. Both Peters and Stone give solid performances and while in some ways you could dislike their characters (a mother who has an affair and leaves her son and a father who tells a child their mother is dead when she is not) you can’t help but feel sorry for them both as they are doing what they think is best for their child.
The overall moral of the play is no matter who you are or what your story you can achieve anything you want to if you are brave enough to try! It is heart-warming and powerful and is definitely worth a watch! Just don’t leave too soon after the cast take their final bows or you may miss a few surprises!
Runs until 26 March 2022 and continues on tour.