Theatre Review: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time @ Oxford New Theatre
by Abi Hack
From its intricate and ingenious scenery, to its exceptional casting (Scott Reid as Christopher Boone was a stand out of the night), the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an innovative production that I would strongly encourage any theatre enthusiasts to add to their calendar this year! Click here to book your tickets.
Based on a young boy, Christopher Boone, who suffers from Asperger Syndrome, the narrative looks at Christopher’s attempts to find out who killed his neighbours dog and why. This in turn leads to a life changing revelation that takes him on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Having seen a production of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time last year at the Bristol Old Vic theatre, I had prepared myself for the feeling of “I know what’s coming next so it won’t be as good as the first time”. This could not have been further from the truth. The National Theatre’s production, directed by Marianne Elliot, is timeless in it attempts to explore human nature, and was equally as spectacular on second viewing.
The production’s designer, Bunny Christie, has created an awe-inspiring set that was brought to life by the cast from start to finish. Its interactive nature meant that it became a character within itself and constantly had the audience intrigued as to which direction the play would go in next. Christie has created a set that cleverly encompasses the mathematical and methodical grounding that is central to the premise of Mark Haddon’s original book. Although the entire play is of an exceptionally high standard, the highlight for me was the moment when Christopher makes the journey from Swindon to London. The clever transitions combined with the lighting, projections, sound and physical movement created a series of seamless transitions (from train, to tube, to street) that embodies the frantic nature of London, and incidentally forces the audience to feel as overwhelmed as the Christopher does in the narrative.
As I mentioned earlier, Scott Reid who plays Christopher Boone, is a true asset to the production and invested every bit of energy into bringing the character to life before the audience’s eyes. Both Lucianne McEvoy (who plays Siobhan) and Emma Beattie (who plays Judy, Christopher’s mother) act as brilliant supporting roles to Reid, as all three encompass the rewarding yet challenging relationship dynamics that are central to the narrative.
The National Theatre’s production of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been running for nearly 5 years and it’s easy to see why. Exploring the complexity of human nature in a play that is accessible for people of all ages, this narrative is arguably considered an important work of fiction that only convinced me more of the moving and powerful nature of theatre.
Here are some more photos of the production....