Theatre review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was a big hit when the National Theatre adapted it in 2012. Now that it’s back in the West End, we sent Neil Simpson along to experience it.
Firstly, I’m pleased to say that ‘Curious Incident’ is enough for most Londoners to know what play you’re talking about. It’s a long title to remember! Now that I have seen it, I can see why that difficult title didn’t stop this show from succeeding: it’s a modern dramatic classic – and thoroughly British throughout, too.
As it started, I was irritated by the sound – it’s incredibly loud and startling. These jarring periods of sound are quite rare however and, as Curious Incident progressed, I realised that the sound engineers want the audience to be irritated: it helps you to understand what it’s like to be Christopher. That’s the name of the main character, a schoolboy on the autistic spectrum. This play’s strength is that is continually shows you how it feels to have this developmental disorder.
There are many parts that are sad and distressing, but the story is such a thrilling ride that Curious Incident doesn’t become a lecture on autism. Christopher is investigating a crime involving his neighbour’s dog, which causes him to discover that his small world is full of secrets. I won’t ruin the story, but it includes a brilliantly staged, edge-of-your-seat moment on a London Underground platform. There’s also comedy sprinkled throughout, which is vital for a family-friendly show with this subject matter.
This theatrical adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is now part of the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) syllabus in UK schools – and it’s certainly an education. If you wish to see London from a very different point of view, or simply want a thoroughly entertaining night of West End dramatics, this is a great choice.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is at the Piccadilly Theatre until 27 Apr 2019
Thur & Sat 2.30pm, Mon-Sat 7.30pm, tickets from £18
Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman St, W1D 7DY | 020 7452 3000
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