Theatre Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre)
A few years ago, we were staying at our step-dad’s house in Wigan. He left us with free reign of his bookshelf in his spare room, and the first book I picked out was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I was intrigued by it, and I ended up reading the book in less than a week.
Cut to a couple of years later, and I found out that Curious Incident was a stage play in the West End. I really wanted to see it, but being in London (and expensive), it wasn’t the easiest thing to see. So, when I found out it was touring the UK and coming to Cardiff, I jumped at the chance to buy tickets!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
I knew a little bit about the show before we went to see the show, but not a great deal. I’d seen the trailer but that was about it – I wanted it to be a surprise! The first thing I loved about it when we walked into the theatre was the stage. It had no curtain, and it was a huge box separated into small squares with lights. The whole play took place in this ‘box’, with no real set – just chairs and lit-up boxes used to create a huge number of locations.
The actors were incredible, especially the actor who played Christopher, the main character. Christopher has autism, and at the beginning of the show, he finds a dog dead in next door’s garden. He loved this dog. He spends the rest of the show trying to find out who killed the dog, interviewing neighbours and piecing together the puzzle. For the audience, it quickly becomes apparent what happened (I won’t tell you – I don’t want to ruin it!) but for Christopher, it’s a difficult mystery that needs to be solved.
The way that the actors used the set was amazing! There were flaps in the sides that opened and stored away props, and the use of lights was so creative. I’ve never seen anything like it. Lighting and sounds were used to convey the movement of a train, houses in a street, and the emotions Christopher felt when faced with the manic energy of Paddington Station. When he had a meltdown in overly busy situations, the lights and sounds went crazy, showing us how it might feel to be in the mind of a person with autism when they’re in a situation they can’t control.
This is the kind of show where I can’t do it justice with words, no matter how hard I try. It’s easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think I’ll ever see another show like it. If you can manage to grab a ticket and go and see it, please do. You need to see for yourself just how innovative and spellbinding this show is, because reviews really don’t cut it!
If you’ve seen Curious Incident, did you find it as magical and amazing as I did? Or if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely get a ticket if it comes anywhere near you on tour!