The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  • Theatre
  • West End
Critics' choice
12 Love It
1/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

2/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Indra Ove (Mrs Shears) and Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

3/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Jacqueline Clarke (Mrs Alexander) and Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

4/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Matthew Trevannion, Sion Dan Young and Seab McKenzie

5/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

6/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

7/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

8/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

9/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

10/10
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Sion Dan Young (Christopher) and Nicholas Tennant (Ed Boone)

Gielgud Theatre , Soho Until Saturday October 29 2016
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The National Theatre's joyously clever West End blockbuster

This review is from July 2014; see official show website for current cast list

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 wonder.

The occasion for this re-review is the end of the enforced layoff inflicted upon ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’. The show figuratively blew the roof off when it transferred from the NT to the Apollo Theatre, but unfortunately the ageing ceiling responded by literally collapsing, necessitating a change of venue and months off. Hopefully, that episode will provide a footnote.

The most important thing is that Simon Stephens’s adaptation remains high tech and high quality. The first Christopher, Luke Treadaway, will always cast a huge shadow, and incumbent Graham Butler can’t match his coiled spring energy and manic otherness. But if Butler offers a gentler, more ‘normal’ hero, his superficial lack of strangeness means that it’s all the more heartbreaking when his nameless condition – presumably Asperger’s – leaves him suddenly, unexpectedly broken, unable to cope with something as simple as a human touch.  

Ultimately ‘Curious Incident’ is a tragedy about a family torn apart by the pressures of looking after their son. Nicolas Tennant and Emily Joyce are excellent as Christopher’s bumblingly selfless dad Ed and agonised mum Judy, driven to put her own wellbeing before that of the child who will never love her in the way she loves him.

The genius of Marianne Elliott’s production is that the tragedy is bound up in so much charm, whimsy, good humour and virtuoso staging that you only occasionally feel blue as Christopher – convinced his dad is dangerous – embarks on an ill-advised odyssey to London to find his mum.

Bunny Christie’s design was neat at the intimate Cottesloe, but blown up for a big stage it’s awe-inspiring, her huge mathematical grid set flaring with life at every turn: maps, cities, trains, constellations – the wondrous strange workings of Christopher’s mind, pumped into something exhilarating by Adrian Sutton’s electronic score.

Perhaps it was weight of expectations, but at the NT I felt the show was a brilliant but conventional adaptation of Haddon’s unconventional bestseller, reliant on Treadaway for greatness. But on a bigger stage, its virtuoso techiness is given full reign – this is a show that’s as extraordinary as its hero.

Venue name: Gielgud Theatre
Contact:
Address: Shaftesbury Avenue
London
W1D 6AR
Transport: Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Price: £15-£57.50. Runs 2hrs 40min
Event phone: 0870 830 0200
Event website: http://www.curiousonstage.com

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:46
  • 4 star:27
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|77
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Livvi AT
Tastemaker

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is an incredible show and brings something new, electric and contemporary to the West End.

Firstly, the story is brilliant and easy to become totally engrossed in. Of course, as it is based on the award winning novel by Mark Haddon, this is hardly surprising. Yet what is a surprise is the inventive and stunning set. Playing on the scientific element of the show, the electronic cuboid of a set, complete with lasers and projections is a triumph in itself and brings a whole new dimension to the performance.

The performances themselves are fantastic. I have now seen the show multiple times and every actor that portrays the autistic Christopher does so with humility, accuracy and their own individual interpretation; acting at its very finest. I find the Dad character’s script sometimes a bit stilted and the humour in his lines forced, but overall, the company are extremely strong.

As a show, it offers all you would want. It’s funny, it’s moving and you are left awe-struck by the innovative staging. If you fancy a show, but want to avoid the soppy ballads and jazz hands, get a ticket to Curious and you will not be disappointed. 

Corina B
Tastemaker

Everything about this show was truly absolutely amazing. I went in not really knowing anything about the story and was very pleasantly surprised by the twists the story throws at the audience. The staging is extremely clever, and the way the actors interact with it even more so. The actors were absolutely incredible, and I felt as if I was watching reality, rather than a play for some parts. I would really recommend this show, it is very well done.

Paula - ToT
Tastemaker

The hype surrounding this show is phenomenal and I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the show a lot and thought the leading actors were fantastic.  The staging is very clever and innovative.  However, I didn’t think the show was as amazing as it’s made out to be - perhaps I went in with too high expectations.  Worth seeing, but I think there are better shows in the West End.

Emma S
Tastemaker

Hands down one of the best plays I have ever seen. I loved the book so was expecting to be disappointed but it was such an amazing execution of the story - imaginative, gripping, sensitive to the struggle that someone with autism has every day. Go and see it, you won't be disappointed (and look out for the cutest surprise at the end!!!)

Gary B

A play we've been looking forward to for a long time and we weren't disappointed. Starting off with an innovative set and cast set-up, we were engrossed from the beginning. An excellent cast, with some well known faces, was topped by an excellent performance by the actor playing Christopher. It swayed from very funny moments to quite heart-wrenching moments without overdoing the slush. I particularly enjoyed the way the supporting cast were used almost as props at times with some unique physical moves. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone from teens, of whom there were plenty in the audience, upwards.

Megan C

Such a great play! Really inventive set design. Gives a great insight in living with / knowing someone on the autistic spectrum without ever putting a name to it or being in your face about it. Highly recommend it!

Daisy H

Great production! As a big fan of the book I wasn't too sure what to expect, but it definiely does it justice. The set design is amazing, with a really inventive use of lights and sound in what at first glance seems like quite a basic surrounding. Just the right amount of humor with fantastic acting.

Kritt N
Tastemaker

I watched The Curious Incident quite a while back, but from what I can remember, I thought it was incredible and easily one of my fave theatre production in the West End.


Based on Mark Haddon’s unconventional novel (which I loved), I was mesmerised by the high-tech stage lighting and admired the charm, wit, good-humour and level of acting which really brings to life the characters I had imagined them to be when I read the novel. Christopher, the little boy who presumably suffers from Asperger’s and from which the novel/play revolves around, is a tough character to portray and I thought Luke Treadaway (the first Christopher) was excellent.



As a bit of a tech geek, what I loved most was the stage. It’s very techy and it’s unlike any other stage I’ve seen on the West End. It is dazzling.



There are some swear words thrown in so you might want to leave the kids out of this one. If you’ve read the novel and loved it, you’ll love it even more after seeing this. It’s fantastic. If you haven’t read the novel, don’t worry, you’ll love it all the same. Highly recommend a watch.

Mmontague

It's clever, but we both came away feeling it was more like a well acted public education 'play' put on by social services.

Bex D

What a stunning production. I read the book a few years ago and it's a story that gets under your skin, so I was really excited to see this. 

We all deal with family break ups in different ways but what of the folk that process things differently from the mainstream. This is a phenomenal depiction of just that and follows the book superbly. 

It's eerie, it's noisy it's goosebumps and gobsmacks. It's a stunning piece of physical theatre with tightly knitted choreography. The performances were solid, well cast and shockingly believable. 

The lighting and set alone deserves its own dressing room, staggeringly good. 

I was enthralled from the opening scene, and had to lubricate with Chablis to prepare for the second half. See it.


Chris G

Having enjoyed the book I was keen to see the stage production which was excellent and did not disappoint.  The set was very innovative and the cast excellent.

Sosh_uk
Tastemaker

Absolutely first class. This play is as good as the book and the main actor was phenomenal. The story is really interesting and the set is great. A must see for all theatre go ers.

Ross T

This was a very entertaining evening and I had not read the book beforehand. The story is a simple one but the cast hold your attention throughout as the action unfolds. The main point of the play is about getting into the mind of the autistic boy Christopher with regard to how he deals with the various issues and challenges arising. It is an excellent example of Physical Theatre - all the action taking place in one set but with many surprising physical and electronic features together with movable props. The cast was mostly excellent particularly the leading man. However it was let down from time to time by inaudibility especially on the part of Christopher's mother. (Don't Drama Schools teach voice projection any more? Do Directors no longer sit at various parts of the theatre to test projection in rehearsals?) Otherwise thoroughly recommended.

Alanna S
Tastemaker

A very smart adaptation of a book that has meant a lot to a lot of people, myself included. The staging and production puts you in the often confusing head-space of an autistic boy, and seeing the world through his mind is something that will stay with you. The lead was a fantastic actor, and believable throughout. If you love the book, you wont be disappointed. And if you haven't read it, then do, and see the show. 

jeaniekarl
Tastemaker

Having read the book, I was looking forward to seeing how this would be adapted for a stage production. I wasn’t disappointed, the small cast were all very talented and the set design was incredible in helping to interpret the story to the audience. There were some very memorable parts of the show and this is one I would recommend to see.


Isabelly
Tastemaker

I consider the book an absolute classic so I was dubious as to how this could possibly be adapted for the stage. However, the lead role plays the part perfectly (especially at the end when he tries to explain how he solved the tricky Pythagoras question is his A Level Maths exam!). The staging was just wonderful as well. Definitely recommend for a matinee performance. 

Adrian H
Tastemaker

Mark Haddon's powerful novel adapts surprisingly well to the stage. Using LED stagecraft, the production gives the audience an insight into the world of Christopher, an autistic teenager, as he tries to decipher the mysterious death of Wellington, the eponymous 'curious incident of the dog in the nighttime'. Simon Stephen's skillful use of choreography, lighting and sound immerses the audience in the chaotic, and sometimes terrifying, journey. An outstanding production and one I'm looking forward to seeing again.

Clemie
Tastemaker

I have to admit I was somewhat sceptical as to how this modern classic would adapt for the stage, but Curious Incident really performs. Faithful to the original, yet updated with a unique and thoroughly modern retelling. The staging is simple and uncluttered, which really allows the story to shine through some very impressive performances. I won’t spoil the ending, but there’s an aesthetically wonderful moment which will have the entire audience blinking away the tears. Highly recommended.

Tina G
Tastemaker

The play was fairly engaging and certainly very creative in its use of theatrical storytelling techniques, yet, in my opinion, it failed to convey the essence of the book. I would certainly recommend it for a nice evening out, but if you actually care about the narrative, read the book first and be prepared to be slightly disappointed.

GeorgeX
Tastemaker

Extremely inventive play based on the Mark Haddon'snovel, about life's values. I hadn't read the book but I enjoyed the play. You are really going to be amazed by the lighting and set design !

Diana T
Tastemaker

Flawless, the set was incredible, the actors amazing, everything was perfect. I don't want to spoil the ending too much, but even the little surprise that fits in with the book is perfect. The tickets aren't over priced like most plays in London. The play's representation of the book is impeccable. Obviously they don't mention every single thing, but the key things are listed. The way the set lights up is perfect. And there's a part on the Underground that makes you feel like you're in the play because you experienced the same feeling when you first took the tube too. 

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Just amazing. I can't believe they don't charge more for the tickets. I loved every second of this - the show was just unbelievable!

AME
Tastemaker

This is hands down a ‘must see’. It is quickly evident that this is not any old piece of theatre that’s been thrown together. It was well thought out, well put together and fantastically executed. The time spent into research was invaluable as it was a very touching play that erupted many emotions through humour, sarcasm and awareness of the world of Autism. Whilst so much was protected, equally so much was exposed which also made it a thought provoking, intriguing and engaging play. The staging was clever and imaginative and all roles were fantastically acted out, especially the role of Christopher. When it wasn't heart-warming and fluffy, it was inspirational, moving and educational. Not to be missed. 

MatureLinda

This is the most thought-provoking, intelligent play I have seen for a very long time.  An incredible script about a very difficult subject.  Cleverly infused  with the right amount of  humour and pathos, the clever but simple set keeps your attention on the brilliance of the script and incredible performance of the actor.

Marcus W

One of the most original, funny and interesting plays currently gracing the West End. The direction, staging and acting were all superb. 

Danny H

I thought the whole atmosphere of the show was very good indeed. They portrayed the troubles and sensitivity of the young boy's life wonderfully well. The show was in itself also very entertaining and well paced, considering the fact that it's hardly an action thriller...Anyway, I would suggest seeing this whilst you still can, although be warned that some of the seats in the Gods do not give a fantastic view.

Ros A
Tastemaker

I've got to say this production didn't float my boat as it did for many others but it was worth a watch. I'd read the book, and loved it, and I felt the production was very far away from what I'd imagined it to be like. I understand the concept, and the using of the claustrophobic and psychedelic set, but for me I sort of wanted the realism of the book - the suburbs, the quiet gardens, etc. That said, I fully take on board that I'm the only person I know that has seen this and not absolutely adored it. So you should probably go anyway. 

Carly-Ann Clements
Staff Writer

It would be quite easy to adapt ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ into a linear, straight piece of theatre but this visualisation ofa young man’s struggles with everyday life is beautiful, innovative and brilliant. The sheer feats in physicality plus the spark of imagination it inspires in the audience are nothing but genius. The acting is exceptional, the stage is incredible and, of course, the plot is heart-breaking and touching. It’s a strikingly original production that would have really wowed an audience when it first opened but I feel like theatre-goers are now spoilt with spectacle so it won’t get the credit it deserves a few years on. But, hopefully it will continue going strong for a long while as it really does deserve a spot as a West End staple.

Laura H

An interesting, thought provoking and highly gripping production, this had me on the edge of my seat throughout the performance. The set and the acting offers a real window into the lives of people who suffer from such isolating illnesses without making you feel sorry for the characters. I particularly enjoyed the modernized set which provided the backdrop to add humour to a delicate situation. I must take my hat off to the performers in this, especially the main character, and must tell you to stay at the end, don't leave too quickly! 

bowertron

A brilliant, buzzy, vibrant production that flies a long at a pace. You don't even realise how quickly the evening has gone when you leave the theatre on such a high. Superbly acted funny, touching. You get a real insight into what it might feel like to suffer from aspergers. My only criticism would be the theatre is usually full of school kids screeching, talking, whispering, fiddling and generally being annoying. Oh well they have to go some way to stop you from loving this production.

Luis M

Great play. The history is brilliant, the scenario excellent and the actors outstanding. An emotional and funny story. The theatre is very good and the price is worth it. I recommend the Dress Circle with a very good view in any row or location.

Amanda R

Wow! Went to the Gielgud Theatre yesterday with my 17 year old son and 13 year old daughter. What an incredible show! The acting, direction and set were all superb. It was powerful, moving, funny, sad and very clever and we were all enthralled. I had read the book but my children hadn't and they loved it as much as I did. A must see!

SMcFly

Set is absolutely fantastic and really innovative. Lead actor was also excellent.

Alicia D

One of the best shows I have ever seen. The use of the stage and actors were impeccable, there was not once a dull moment. I also liked the fact that they very much stuck with the original script. Very enjoyable for all ages.  

jack w

AMAZING! It is rare that I find an adaptation of one of my favorite books that I feel is successful but this was amazing. I loved every minute of it, cried for 2/3 of it and laughed for the other 1/3. The cast were all very strong and the set and staging really pulled everything together into a slick and seamless show. 


My only criticism is that there were some parts of the book that were thrown in but not explained properly. This left my partner a little confused. But I, having read the book at least 7 times knew it inside and out! For example, when he asks for the radio in act 2, and when he draws the smiley face on the back wall. This is explained in the book but not in the play.

Charly Lester
Staff Writer

Incredible - like no other London theatre experience.  Funny, heart-felt and extremely well cast, I loved every minute.  I hadn't read the book beforehand, and you don't need to.  The set designers have created a visual masterpiece, and the cast don't disappoint.  

Dominic J

I have seen the performance on five occasions with different Christopher's. I feel that Abram Rooney does not get the credit that he deserves. He has clearly mastered his brief  and his performance reflects this. On each occasion that I have seen him perform he has developed the character and brings. 


Specifically, he plays the part with the appropriate energy which allows the audience to empathise not only with his character but those of the other protagonists.. From the very first scene when Christopher examines that dead dog, the audience is able to see the sense of curiosity and wonderment with which Christopher views the dog. 


When interacting with the other protagonists the audience is able to effortlessly portray Christopher's detachment from the other protagonists and in doing so highlights the difficulties that he faces and the frustration that those around him experience. When Christopher is distressed he plays the part with an appropriate level of energy that his wholly believable. 


This is not to say that the performance is a one man show - far from it.  The other protagonists create an ensemble that are trying to make sense of Christopher. Initially, when I watched the performance I thought it was about Christopher and how he reacted to those around him. It began to dawn on me that it more about how the others react to him.  


Reverend Peter's (Tony Turner) admirably attempts to explain the whereabouts of Heaven to Christopher and you are left feeling that they are talking on different levels.  The Tube assistant (Vivienne Acheampong) believes that she is being mocked when Christopher asks her a literal question and imitates her accent. These are just two examples that show not only the difficulties experienced by Christopher but the frustrations and the challenges and lack of understanding experienced by those around Christopher.  


The lightening, music and set are fantastic. They create both an audible and visual back drop as to give the audience a flavour of what Christopher has to experience. 


Finally, but by no ,means least, although not technically part of the stage performance the courtesy and professionalism of Greg and his dedicated team of theatre staff decked out in "I find people confusing tee-shirts" enter into the spirit of the occasion and put the icing on the cake.


Go see - but check Abram Rooney out as the lead and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. 



Michel H

Whit all the pressure they put on me i' was not in my better time is true but whit appreciation a be nice like i am and dont juge pepole before you speak whit is not very Freat to do that

i can speak an learn fast


Jean Oglethorpe

Mike Noble did an incredible job playing a 15-year-old boy with Asperger syndrome! It was a WOW production for me. I was very lucky to have gotten a ticket at the last minute and thought that it was very moving and inspirational. The Time Out Review is right on!!!

Rosemary

Ive read the book and loved it. I saw this play and was blown away by the whole experience. I feel that Christopher carried the whole play and in many ways the other actors were incidental (is that a pun?) to the story. Brilliant. Highly recommended.

Emilia

It's a first: I liked the show more than the book. On stage, Christopher's character acquires nuances I could not imagine on the page.His touching naivety adds depth to the conflicts experienced by the adults around him, creating a totally believable three-dimensional experience which is fully absorbing. The merit goes to a top cast which, even with a major interruption due to an accident amongst the audience which occurred right at the climax, regained energy and full control of the story. The set is a magic box with seemingly endless possibilities like the inside of a Kubrick's cube. Seven well deserved Olivier awards indeed and 4 stars from me.

SB

I read the book but my husband hadn't. he's also not as into the theater as I am but still loved it. would highly recommend

Mel

I have seen this play twice and enjoyed it immensely both times. The acting in it was brilliant, particuarly the lead- I work with adults who have autism and thought that it was a sensitive and fair portrayal of someone with autism (it wasn't over the top or patronising). A level of pathos was achieved and you could hear strong reactions within the audience. The set is fantastic, and they have made some great additions to the set, sound and lighting/ effects since moving theatres. I would (and have) recommended this to others.

Jacqui

Very clever set and effects. Great acting which really conveyed a sense of the protagonist's internal dilemmas.

Elly Sandberg

I thought it was absolutely excellent - the lighting on stage was fantastic and very creative. Absolutely loved the surprise at the end! Made me laugh a lot.

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