Monday, 5 January 2015

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

It only takes one step inside the auditorium to know that this show is going to be something special.

Fifteen year old Christopher, who has behavioral problems, comes across his neighbour's dog lying dead with a garden fork in his side one night. Christopher makes it his project to discover who killed the dog.

Graham Butler gives a very impressive performance and seems to have a fantastic grasp of his character, from understanding how the mind of the teenager works to perfecting realistic movements and reactions to all the other characters and environments. In the show's programme, Mark Haddon says, 'I've always regretted that the phrase 'Aspergers Syndrome' appeared on the cover of Curious Incident when it was first published.'  However, Christopher is most definitely portrayed as someone who has the habits and personality quirks that can often be identified on the autism spectrum. Although the play has some very comic moments there is nothing distasteful or offensive about the way that Christopher is played. 

Much like the best-selling novel of the same name, the audience view the show for the most part from Christopher's point of view. The various scenes are depicted through projections onto screens around the stage showing anything from Christopher's thoughts and how he sees day to day life. The audience are reminded how basic routines that we take for granted are bizarre and new to Christopher, this is acted so well that audiences are given a clear insight to the workings of his mind. Only those who know him well are able to find certain touches and words that help put his mind at ease and help him form some form of a relationship.   

The murder of the dog is a constant reminder to audiences that the 'curious incident' refers to every other character in the play as it is the quirks and flaws of the others that Christopher struggles to understand.

The physical acting in this show is completely phenomenal and the minimum use of props or doubling up props for different use is simply ingenious. The small cast means that each actor takes on multiple roles too and they do so, incredibly. 

This is really a one-of-a-kind show and whether or not you are familiar with the book, head on down the Gielgud Theatre.

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