★ ★ ★ ★ ★ | The Curious Incident Of The Dog In Night Time
Based in the incredibly successful 2003 novel by Mark Haddon, the stage play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has transferred from the National to the Apollo Theatre in the West End.
The play tells the story of 15-year-old schoolboy Christopher Boone and his quest to solve the mystery of who murdered a dog in his neighbourhood. During his investigation, he discovers secrets and embarks on an adventure where he is forced to leave his comfort zone and ultimately, grow from a boy into a young man.
Christopher shows signs of an unidentified “behavioural problem” with characteristics normally associated with Asperger’s syndrome or autism. Often, he struggles to communicate with those around him and his frustration can be felt throughout the play. The actor Luke Treadaway, best known for War Horse at the National, who gives Christopher a depth of character rarely seen on the stage today. I expect he is a shoe in to win an Olivier Award for his performance. By the end of the play, you forget he is an actor playing a part and it is hard to imagine Treadaway without a “behavioural problem” of his own- he is incredibly convincing and strangely attractive in the role. A friend who joined me at the theatre swooned when at one point Treadaway took off his shirt. The rest of the cast do a very good job in supporting roles, especially Nicola Walker and Paul Ritter who play his frustrated parents.
Perhaps the only thing that upstages Treadaway’s performance is the incredible set design by Bunny Christie, which mirrors Christopher’s genius mind. The set lights up at various times in the play and can comfortably look like the inside of a bedsit in Willesden as it does deep space.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a satisfying trip to the West End. It combines a compelling story, with a stunning set and equally inspired performances from the cast. All theatre should be this engaging.
Playing at the Apollo Theatre until 4 January 2014
Tickets at www.nimaxtheatres.com
Running time 2 hrs 30 mins