When it comes to shows at the theatre, I’d class myself as “in the know” so when I heard that Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time was coming to the Regent Theatre In Stoke I embarassingly found myself drawing a blank. Taking ideas from the name I pictured something in between Marley and Me and a children’s book. I couldn’t have been more wrong. With 17 awards on its mantelpiece, this Olivier Award winning show ranks up there with the likes of War Horse for me as an intensely moving piece of theatre.
Seeing the greatest musical classics of all time on stage is amazing, the shows that are loved, where you know the songs as soon as they begin and you know what to expect the moment you take your seat. But to sit in an auditorium and be unprepared and have no preconceptions of the content is a lot more exciting to view as an audience member and makes you more accepting of the characters and how the play is portrayed.
The adaptation of the show remains as high quality as the book.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a stage adaptation by Simon Stephens of the novel (of the same name) by Mark Haddon. The play as it is today reworks the original first person narrative of the central character, Christopher Boone, and is instead presented as a play within a play narrated by Christopher teacher, Siobhan.
The “Curious Incident” the show tells of is that of the murder of Wellington, Christopher Boone’s next door neighbours dog. When Wellington is found murdered Christopher is the initial suspect and from there unwinds somewhat of a mystery surrounding the inner circle of family members of Christophers life.
Who really killed Wellington?
Why does his dad think that Mr Shears is evil?
Why did his mum die so suddenly?
Christopher has Aspergers like symptoms and the play within a play style of narrative reflects this. It’s evident that Christophers thought processes differ somewhat from his parents and the other characters within the play. The play forces you to look at life through the eyes of Christopher, a life where the barrages of stimuli and simplest of tasks can be wholly overwhelming. It is within these moments that the show can become somewhat exhausting emotionally to watch, I found myself perched literally on the edge of my seat at some moment, especially during some of the exchanges between Christopher and his father.
The play highlights not only the messiness of life and relationships it also shows the difficulties that parenting can face. It shows that trying to balance being an adult with being a parent isn’t easy, especially when raising a child who cannot bear to be touched.
Christopher is not beaten by the disorder which makes him “different”, along with the fear of human contact and fixation of time and dates comes Christopher’s mathematical gift. He wants so much to succeed in life, to write a book (which is the play) and to take his A Level maths exam earlier than anybody else in his class. Through this steely determination and after overcoming the dramatic events which have occurred in his life since finding Wellington, Christopher does sit his A Level maths exam. After receiving his results he asks the closing question..
“Does this mean I can do anything?”
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is an outstanding piece of theatre and I implore you to catch it if you see it showing in your hometown.
The Curious Incident is showing at the Regent Theatre in Stoke until Saturday 14th February 2015.