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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - UK Tour Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Multi-award Winning Play Recreates Magic Of The Book
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is an extraordinary experience.

It's clever and innovative and has transformed the acclaimed book of the same name by Mark Haddon into a celebrated multi-award winning theatre production by The National Theatre.

The curious case of the dog in the night time uk tour, review
Fascinating scenes in the multi-award winning play


Following the antics of Christopher, a 15-year-old with Asperger Syndrome, the audience sees the world through his eyes, so it makes perfect sense that it often becomes a sensory overload.

The stage is the most ingenious I have seen in a long time - almost totally computerised with the ability to show graphics, lights, maps and whatever else may be whizzing through likeable Christopher's mind on the floor and three walls encasing the action.

I saw the show at Birmingham Hippodrome, early on in its UK and Ireland tour, which continues to cities including Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Bath. All in all, it will be performed 341 times on the tour.

We join the teenager as he discovers the neighbour's dog dead with a pitch fork through its heart. Wrongly blamed for the horrendous act, Christopher sets about solving who actually killed Wellington, but ends up revealing hidden family secrets as well.

Curious case of the dog in the night time uk tour
A breathtaking stage impresses


While the show starts off as a witty, light mystery it moves on to a much more emotional drama ahead of the interval showing the toll that a condition like Christopher's has played on his parents.

There's some touching moments too, like when Christopher says the rain makes him think of exotic places where the water has evaporated from before travelling to his home. Then there's the fantastic outer space experience when imagining his dreams of becoming an astronaut.

Actor Joshua Jenkins is formidable as Christopher and is utterly believable as the always factually correct, complex teenager that doesn't know how to tell a lie. It's a compelling debut with the National Theatre for Jenkins.

He's supported by a strong small team of actors taking on many roles, including Geraldine Alexander as his gentle teacher Siobhan. She is almost hypnotising with her kindly, soft voice and well-suited as a narrator, in part. You may recognise her voice and face from many TV shows including Miss Marple.

Curious case of the dog in the night time
Emotional scenes between Christopher and his dad


Stuart Laing is also extremely moving as Christopher's understanding father Ed but ultimately it's the live animals in the show that seem to attract the most attention. There's Christopher's pet rat Toby (kept in a cage, for those of you frightened of rats) and the most adorable puppy you are likely to ever see.

It's easy to see why this production received seven Olivier Awards in 2013, including Best New Play, Best Director, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design. But then there is a powerhouse of creative talent behind it. Marianne Elliott, who co-directed the National Theatre's famous production of War Horse, directs this play while Simon Stephens, who was behind Birdland and Blindsided, was responsible for adapting it for stage.

There was a lot of live up to in recreating this book, after all, the 2003 novel went on to win more than 17 literary awards, including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. It's also been translated into 44 languages.

Curious case of the dog in the night time uk tour
Joshua Jenkins is outstanding as Christopher


This production has, however, managed to distinguish itself in its own right and even comes across as funnier than the novel.

It's not often that a film or theatre show manages to live up to the book but this is one of the exceptions. Even for those who haven't read the novel, it is a wonderful, mesmerising piece of theatre that you won't want to miss.

Rating:8/10

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Birmingham Hippodrome
May 26 - June 6, 2015
Mon-Sat Evenings at 7.30pm; Wed Matinees 2pm; Saturday Matinees 2.30pm.

Tickets cost £17.50 - £42.50 by calling 0844 338 5000 or from the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

Other UK Tour Dates

For tickets, visit the UK tour website.

Curve, Leicester
09/06/2015 - 13/06/2015

Mayflower, Southampton
23/06/2015 - 04/07/2015
RELAXED PERFORMANCE on July 2

Hall For Cornwall, Truro
07/07/2015 - 11/07/2015

Oxford, New Theatre
14/07/2015 - 18/07/2015

Empire, Liverpool
21/07/2015 - 25/07/2015

Hippodrome, Bristol
04/08/2015 - 08/08/2015

The Empire, Sunderland
11/08/2015 - 15/08/2015

Kings, Glasgow
18/08/2015 - 22/08/2015

Grand, Leeds
25/08/2015 - 29/08/2015

His Majesty's, Aberdeen
01/09/2015 - 05/09/2015

Theatre Royal, Norwich
08/09/2015 - 12/09/2015

Lyceum, Sheffield
15/09/2015 - 26/09/2015

Dublin, Bord Gais
06/10/2015 - 10/10/2015

Grand Theatre, Belfast
13/10/2015 - 17/10/2015

Theatre Royal, Bath
20/10/2015 - 31/10/2015

Lowry, Salford
17/11/2015 - 21/11/2015

Milton Keynes
03/11/2015 - 07/11/2015

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Why? See award-winning play of the popular book
When: Touring until November
Phone: 0844 338 5000 -Birmingham Hippodrome
Where: UK and Ireland tour
Cost: From £17.50
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