Someone killed Wellington the dog, and Christopher Boone is going to find out who did it.
Years ago while searching for new books to read a friend recommended that I read The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, by Mark Haddon. I settled down with it am was instantly hooked. It is told from the point of view of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old who has asperger syndrome. Christopher is a gifted mathmatician, who struggles identifying with other people. He doesn’t like to be touched, cannot read feelings or emotions, and takes everything literally. When his neighbours dog is killed with a pitch fork Christopher takes on the role of his idol Sherlock Holmes to find out who did it – and ends up uncovering another mystery that takes him complelty out of his comfort zone.
When I heard that Curious had been made into a stage show I was keen to see it, and could not picture how it could make the transition from paper to stage. However from the moment it started to the curtain call it was an emotional rollercoaster of lights, sounds, and movement.
Usually I start my review by focusing on the actors, but this time I have to talk firstly about the director Marianne Elliott. The way that the book was bought to life was incredible, and using the technical aspects of theatre she created a world that drew you in, and made you feel part of it. Christopher is anxious in public, and doesnt like to leave the safety of his house. Watching the performance you really felt his anxiety, especially in the scene where he goes to London, and tries to catch the tube. Combining strobe lighting, with noise, lots of people running around and the effect of the train really made me feel quite anxious, and my heart was beating. I understood then how difficult and confusing Christopher must find the world, as I did feel quite disorientated myself.
Christopher was played by Scott Reid, who on his curtain call was given a well deserved standing ovation. It must be a difficult role to play, as Christopher is a complex character. Reid really showed his vulnerable side, and his confusion at the world around him. I especially liked the scene where he is talking about his dream of becoming an astronaut where he is picked up by the ensemble and moved around. This, together with the lights and projections of constellations on the walls gave the appearance that he was floating.
Curious has a very simple stage, that is in the shape of a cube. It is minimal, with the actors sitting on the sides until their parts. However – that is where the simplicity ends. The walls of the cube are used for drawing, illustrating Christopher’s fears and thoughts. Maths equations often appear, as do faces, maps, and words.
The other actors complement Christopher, and take on multiple characters. They are used as props, and move Christopher and other objects around.
I was hugely impressed by this performance, and judging by the cheers and applause at the end I wasn’t the only one. On the way out of the theatre words such as ‘amazing’, ‘thought provoking’ and ‘impressive.’
If you are going to see this show (which I really urge you to do), I would advise you not to leave straight after the curtain call!