Liam Rudden: Spellbinding incident

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Pic: Comp
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Pic: Comp
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SPELLBINDING! The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a magical journey of exquisite storytelling.

Confession time, I had to be convinced to take time out to check out Simon Stephens’ adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel on a recent trip to London.

It didn’t strike me as being my kind of show - the title’s pretty clumsy too. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I tell you this because the touring production stops off at the Festival Theatre at the end of the month for a two-week run, and it really is worth a look.

The story appears to revolve around the murder of Mrs Shears’ dog Wellington, but that’s really nothing more than a plot device to allow us to enter the beautifully regimented mindscape of Christopher Boone.

Christopher likes routine. He’s not a fan of loud noises. May not be hugged. And sees life with the logic of an innocent, minus any external emotional connection. Not that he doesn’t have the ability to be deceitful. He does, he just doesn’t have the ability to lie about it.

Determined to unmask Wellington’s murderer he unknowingly sets in motion a sequence of events that will change his, and the lives of everyone around him. It’s a grand tale packed with adventure and more than a little humour.

Staged in a box set etched with grids, the ensemble become the scenery as the drama develops. It’s a fresh, exciting staging that eloquently captures and illustrates Christoper’s unique thought processes. Full credit to movement directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett of Frantic Assembly.

Manic cacophonies and terrible silences add layers the drama, as do strobing lights and cast careering around the stage. Combined, they create the maelstrom that is Christopher’s sensory overload.

To counter that, however, there are even points at which you find yourself sharing Christoper’s wide-eyed bewilderment, an involuntary smile on your face as you find yourself seeing the world in a very different way indeed.

If you do catch the show when it comes to town, let me leave you with one tip: After the curtain call, stay in your seats.