The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time re-opened this week at London’s Gielgud Theatre, following its closure last year at the Apollo Theatre after part of the ceiling collapsed mid-performance.
The play, based on the book by Mark Haddon, tells the story of a boy with learning difficulties, Christopher Boone (played by Graham Butler). When he finds his neighbour’s dog dead in the garden, he makes it his mission to do some detective work to find out who the real culprit was. Christopher finds out more than he bargained for whilst interviewing the neighbours and we see him take a journey into a world that is terrifying for any child, especially one with mental problems.
Graham Butler approaches the character of Christopher in a fresh new way compared to award winning Luke Treadaway who was previously in the role (also brilliant). Graham brings a more nervous, uncomfortable energy to the character and plays the part perfectly. Nicholas Tennant is brilliant in the role of frustrated and short tempered father, struggling to deal with his son’s disabilities. He shows both the anger and the love that a father can have in equal measure but ultimately you know it is all done out of love. Sarah Woodward acts as a narrator throughout the show, reading Christopher’s thoughts aloud and helps to hold the show together.
The staging and design of the set is second to none. A box of simple square panels couldn’t look more basic when you first walk in to the theatre but the genius way these move and are used throughout the performance, along with brilliant lighting and sound effects makes a dream like feeling to the show and something you feel totally immersed in.
The way the cast create objects and feelings through movement is incredibly captivating and something we still don’t see much of in the west end (at least not done properly). Movement Directors Frantic Assembly are well known for this type of work and it is great to see it being used in a production of this size.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a great example of brilliant theatre. It is shows like this that are worth every penny the public pay for them and puts a lot of other west end productions to shame. The National Theatre has produced an impressive body of work throughout the years and this shows in the success of the west end transfers they have achieved. These shows are well written and well thought out, not thrown together like many west end shows these days. The quality shines through and shows are a privilege to watch.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
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