Get us in your inbox

Search

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  • Theatre, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

    Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

  2. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

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

  3. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

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

  4. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

    Matthew Trevannion, Sion Dan Young and Seab McKenzie

  5. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

    Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

  6. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

    Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

  7. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

    Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

  8. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

    Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

  9. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

    Sion Dan Young (Christopher)

  10. © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
    © Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

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

Advertising

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This dazzling hi-tech drama from the National Theatre is a story of a family struggling to cope

'Curious Incident' transfers to Troubadour Wembley Park in November 2021. This review is from 2017. 

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 the 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.

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski

Details

Address:
Price:
£20-£79.50. Runs 2hr 30min
Advertising
You may also like
You may also like
Bestselling Time Out offers

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!