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

11 April 17 words: Jared Wilson

The second coming of Mark Haddon's novel-turned-play has gone down a treat...

When author Mark Haddon first wrote The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time (2003) he had a long history of kids books behind him. Gilbert’s Gobstopper (1987) and Agent Z and the Killer Bananas (2001) to name but two.

This background shows as, although the book was aimed at a more mature audience, it transferred between generations, and a decade on has ended up as a core text on various educational syllabuses. It’s also been credited with furthering a greater understanding of Asperger’s and autism.

It’s no surprise then, that the play has been a smash hit too – and one that attracts a varied theatre audience of all ages. During its premiere run, the play tied the record for winning the most Olivier Awards (seven) and is still running in the West End until June. It’s also been as far afield as Mexico, Seoul and Tokyo. This is its second run in Nottingham after an incredible run two years ago, and this time round, it doesn’t disappoint.

Right from the opening scene where Christopher John Francis Boone, played brilliantly by Scott Reid, is standing in a mathematical grid surrounded by various voices and a dog with a garden fork sticking out of it, you know this isn’t going to be a straightforward tale. As the story unfolds, various characters, including his harrowed-looking father (David Michaels) and his supportive school mentor Siobhan (Lucianne McEvoy), are introduced. They all tie together in a world based on maths and innocent misunderstandings from the mind of a fifteen-year-old savant, trying to solve a mystery and make sense of his life.

The set is excellent throughout. Be prepared to see things taken from walls you didn’t even realise were there and to see things assembled in front of your eyes that don’t make any sense until you see the bigger picture. The set reflects Christopher’s world well, and thus the play adds to the novel's themes in a very organic way.

The title of the play and the book is a direct quote from The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sherlock Holmes also famously said “To a great mind nothing is little.” This play is a good example of how one child’s life and the small details and misunderstandings within it can make a bigger impact and further understanding for an entire generation. Go see it now.  

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is running at the Theatre Royal until Saturday 15 April.

Theatre Royal website

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