REVIEW: Curious brilliance

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WINNER of seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards including Best Play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time brings Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel to thrilling life on stage at the Birmingham Hippodrome this week.

Adapted by two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens and directed by Olivier and Tony Award-winning director Marianne Elliott, this had all the hallmarks of a hit.

And that it is.

The adaptation allows the audience to step into the mind of a 15-year-old with Asperger syndrome. Christopher Boone has an extraordinary brain – exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, hates the colours yellow and brown and distrusts strangers.

When he falls under the suspicion of killing Mrs Shears’ dog, which he discovers speared with a garden fork, it takes him on a journey that upturns his world.

The small ensemble cast produces a slick fluid production enhanced by very clever staging. What initially looks like a blank black cube is transformed with projections, graphics, lights and sound to depict not only the settings but the emotions of the scenes perfectly. It allows us to see life through the eyes of Christopher immersing us into his world for a little over two hours, never failing to keep the audience engaged throughout.

What was a front room one minute became a London Underground the next – and the show was beautifully simplistic, perhaps as a nod to the lead character himself.

Pushing the boundaries of theatre, the play is sensory overdrive, challenging those watching to see, hear and experience life in a totally different way.

Christopher is played supremely well by Scott Reid who is on the stage for the entire play He manages to portray the character’s struggles as he attempts to overcome his condition to play detective and investigate the dog killing, while stumbling across a series of other unprecedented events on the way.

Other stand-out performances came from Christopher’s dad, Ed, played by David Michaels and Christopher’s mother, played by Emma Beattie.

An exceptional contribution too from Lucianne McEvoy, who plays Christopher’s teacher Siobhan, periodically narrating sections of Christopher’s book to the audience.

Inspiring, enchanting and ambitious, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime is a triumph of a show that breaks the mould.

There’s still time to catch it if you’re quick. It closes at the Birmingham Hippodrome tomorrow Saturday. Visit: www.birminghamhippodrome.com