Having read the novel that inspired this play and been blown away by Mark Haddon’s literary interpretation of Christopher Boone’s world, you would forgive me for being somewhat apprehensive of seeing this piece. From the minute I walked into the auditorium, however, at the Leeds Grand Theatre, I felt instantly at ease and excited for the spectacle that would shortly take place.
Curious tells the story of Christopher Boone, a 15 year old (well, 15 years, 3 months and 2 days, precisely) boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and how he, upon the discovery of his neighbour’s dead dog, sets out to discover who killed it and along the way ends up piecing together more mysteries than anyone really wanted solving.
At our performance, Christopher’s multitude of eccentricities were perfectly embodied by Chris Ashby, the alternate Christopher for this production. He really brought the character to life, which, as a person without the Asperger’s, is not an easy task to get right. He was, of course, supported excellently by a fantastic ensemble. Particularly, Geraldine Alexander and Stuart Laing, who portrayed Christopher’s teacher Siobhan and his father, Ed, who help to narrate the story and convey emotion in Christopher’s emotionless world.
Designed by Bunny Christie, the set, whilst minimalistic, is only minutely altered for the tour. The stark black and white cube with hidden cupboards and drawers on every wall, is a perfect representation of Christopher’s brain and the way he likes to be logical and compartmentalise things in different areas of his mind. It is all brought to life by the incredible projections and lighting, that in an innovative way, transport you to the different locations the investigation takes Christopher.
But how in a show without a lot of set pieces does this change of scenery happen, I hear you ask! Well, through the use of some incredible, visually stunning physical theatre and contemporary movement, the actors themselves become doors, beds and even a cash machine, whilst in another scene Christopher is an astronaut on a space walk and is floating around with the help of the ensemble. It really is a treat to see it live and I feel my words do not do it nearly enough justice!
Curious Incident is a funny, beautiful and life affirming piece that sheds a light on the world of the Autistic Spectrum and gives us an incredible insight into the lives of those living with such conditions allowing us to understand how they feel. It really is a one of a kind and I urge anyone to see it!
Reviewed by James Rew
Photo: Brinkhoff Mögenberg
Curious on tour is next playing at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen from 1st -5th September.