Theatre / autism

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Hippodrome

By shane morgan, Wednesday Jun 14, 2017

Unless you have chosen to live on a desert island and didn’t select Mark Haddon’s novel as your reading matter, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of or encountered the Curious Incident phenomenon.

Published in 2003, Mark Haddon’s novel became an overnight success and an international hit. The subsequent stage version opened at the National Theatre in 2012 and since then has been a significant fixture on the theatrical landscape. And, once seen, you can understand why.

The story centres around 15-year-old Christopher Boone (Scott Reid) and his discovery of a brutally murdered Wellington, his neighbour’s dog. The story unfolds into a family-centered drama that sees Christopher split between finding the murderer and getting caught between his father and the truth about his mother.

The tale is full of heart, and it is through craftsmanlike skill that writer Mark Haddon has managed to balance multiple threads around a 15-year-old boy with autism. The story not only highlights Christopher’s very particular perception of the world: it also draws attention to how the world perceives him. without ever falling into cliché or stereotype.

Simon Stephens’ stage adaptation is lovingly faithful to Haddon’s book. It is his attention to detail that gives the stage version its life, only slipping occasionally during an overly written first half. Marianne Elliot’s direction proves to be the triumph of the show. She effortlessly weaves together this episodic story through dynamic staging, beautifully crafted transitions and a multi-roling ensemble who never miss a beat.

This is a rare event; a story and a show that offers something for everyone.  Forget a star rating. This is a multiple-smiley-face-emoticon show.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time continues at the Hippodrome until Saturday, June 17. For more info and to buy tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time-2017/bristol-hippodrome

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