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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Encore Review

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Learn How to Solve Pythagoras's Theorem
the curious incident of the dog in the night time, national theatre, encore
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Ever since I saw a live performance of War Horse at the Odeon a few months back, I have been looking forward to seeing another stage play shown at the cinema. Upon open my emails last week, I was therefore excited when I read my Odeon newsletter to see that an encore performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time would be screening on the 22nd May. I immediately booked tickets, and within no time at all, I found myself sitting in front of the big screen with eager anticipation.

Christopher Boone (Luke Treadaway) is an extremely gifted fifteen-year old boy from Swindon. He likes trains, animals, and out of space, but does not like metaphors, yellow food, or being touched. Christopher also has an aptitude for maths, science, and getting people angry. Christopher does not do it on purpose; it is just that people do not understand him. He thinks differently to them because he is autistic.

The play starts shortly after midnight in Mrs Shears's garden. Christopher is in that garden. So is Mrs Shears (Sophie Duval) and her dead dog, Wellington, who has just been murdered with a garden fork. Christopher is determined to find out who killed Wellington, even though it is against his father's wishes. He starts an investigation that sends him on an amazing journey filled with adventure and discovery, but also one filled with dark secrets and heartache.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an adaptation of Mark Hodden's novel of the same name. In the book, Hodden writes everything in first person, from Christopher's point of view. This is hard to translate on stage, but the creative team did an exceptional job. The minimalist set design and use of lighting grants you access to our familiar world from an entirely different perspective. You get to see what it is like inside an autistic mind. The stage is a square of dotted lights that connect together through a series of straight lines; everything is very simple, logical, and mathematical. It is a bit like entering an eighties side-scrolling computer game all the backgrounds are in two dimensions pixels. The techno music also contributes to this effect. Sound is very important in the play; over lapping voices and gradual increases in volume are overwhelming and cause apprehension. When Christopher ventures out on his own, he is over stimulated, there is too much information, which he cannot filter.

The acting was impeccable, especially by the lead, Luke Treadaway, who was on stage the entire time. The role requires incredible body strength, and word dexterity. Paul Ritter, who plays Christopher's father, also gave an outstanding performance that shows all the emotional facets a parent goes through when looking after a child with autism from the fear and frustration, the anger, and pure anguish of not being able to hug your own son.

As well as these powerful tender moments, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is full of humour, particularly through director, Marianne Elliot's, decision to break the fourth wall. It is in fact a meta-play, making frequent references to itself, with character changes and scene alterations.

You can see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre between 24th June 2014 14th February 2015. Tickets are between 15 - 57.50. Make sure to stay after the end if you want to find out how to solve Pythagoras's Theorem.
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Why? Fun at the theatre
When: 24th June - 14th Feb 2015
Phone: 020 7452 3000
Where: Gielguld Theatre
Cost: 15-57.50
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