Gielgud Theatre

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Chinatown

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  • Address:

    Gielgud Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue
    London
    W1D 6AR

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Drama, West End

  • Rating: 4/5
  • Critics' choice

Three theatres, three casts, one major disaster and seven Olivier Awards on, the National Theatre’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel about Christopher Boone, the teenage ‘mathematician with some behavioural difficulties’ remains a thing of unbridled...

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  1. Mon Sep 15 – Sat Feb 14 2015
  2. Gielgud Theatre
  3. £15-£57.50. Runs 2hrs 40min
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Ruvani de Silva

Theatre right now is chock full of adaptations, be they from books or films, and the precision that borders on staginess of Hitchcock's most successful offerings seem rich pickings for translation to the stage. However, after the huge success of the hilarious, innovative and sophisticated adaptation of The 39 Steps (I nearly fell off my seat laughing) Strangers on a Train is an unfortunate misfire. Hitchcock's 1951 thriller might not be his finest hour but it is a tight, well-paced endeavour with enough tension to recommend itself and justify its 104 minute running time. Unfortunately, the team behind this flabby and vastly overlong interpretation chose to overlook the film's strengths and transform it into a 3 hour pseudopsychological mess. Delusional sociopath Bruno Anthony, played with perfectly queasy affableness by Robert Walker in the movie, is transformed into irritatingly over-the-top drunk Carl Bruno (Jack Huston), whose latent homosexuality and belaboured mother-fixation are pinned as his motives for setting up architect Guy Haines (Laurence Fox) in the criss-cross scenario. The crucial scene on the train is frustratingly short, especially in comparison to the painful and unnecessary total running time, and we spend far too much time watching both men wrestle with their own rather irritating demons (drink, depression, etc) while the dramatic tension just seeps away. Changing Haines from a tennis star to an architect was a wasteful decision, throwing away the dramatic build-up of a tennis match for long and frustrating scenes in which he wrestles with his skill, ambition and conscience - hardly the stuff of a sparky thriller. The beautiful and elaborate period set was really a waste on such a weak and uninspiring production, where attempts at modernisation and theatricality have resulted in hamminess and boredom. This is a film that could, if handled properly, have made an excellent transition from screen to stage - sadly this is not it.