The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a play based on the book by Mark Haddon. The play is a powerful story about Christopher Boone, a boy with autism who investigates the death of a neighbour’s dog and uncovers a family truth along the way. The play looks at Christopher’s relationship with his father and people outside his family and shows what it’s like to live with autism.
The set is possibly the most impressive thing about the performance. The three walls of the stage and the ground are black with white lines making squares over the walls. There are doors in the staging which are undetectable until someone uses them or pulls objects out of them, which was extremely impressive. Christopher wrote on the floor with chalk which then came up on the walls and when he was having an autistic meltdown, the walls would fill with numbers and the lighting would flash uncontrollably. The lighting was overwhelming but it perfectly showed the overpowering and uncomfortable nature of autism, especially when they have a meltdown. The lights and staging was most impressive in the scene where Christopher takes the train. There were several images on the screens of train stations and the London Underground system and a fly-in piece of set became the gap between the train and the platform. The props were used extremely well, with white boxes acting as multiple items and there was seating around the edge of the stage so that the characters that were not needed could sit on the side and come into the scene when they were. Although there were props, the other characters on stage acted as different objects that Christopher moved through which was fun to watch as it was surprisingly realistic considering it wasn’t done by props. The sound was very cleverly used as the actors on stage almost controlled it, as the sound was perfectly in time with the actors movements.
The acting was incredible, with Scott Reid playing an amazing Christopher. His mannerisms and noises that he made when he was scared were terrific and his acting along with the set, really made the audience understand and feel what it must be like to have autism. The way the play depicted autism was sensitive but also very ‘in your face’ and not only showed how people with autism deal with it but also showed how their families cope. All members of the ensemble were amazing and showed how people who don’t understand autism are like to someone who has it and how something as little as touching people, has a profound effect on an autistic person. The ensemble really showed off their different styles and ranges of acting and the puppy at the end of the play was very well received and I wanted to take it home with me!
All in all, this play is a must-see and I cannot recommend it more. The cast and crew truly did an amazing job and it was obvious why the play got so many awards! It was funny, sad, happy and so many emotions all wrapped into one.
Beth Girdler- Maslen