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Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time. Three and a half stars

July 26, 2013

First night back after holidays and we are out again but this time to the theatre. I haven’t read the book but heard great things about the show so was keen to see it whilst the main guy is still playing the lead.

The set and production are bloody impressive. Walled with graph paper we are invited in to the world of Christopher, a 15 year old ‘on the spectrum’ with Asperger’s or similar autistic difficulties and an ability to do maths. The book is written in the first person and this adaptation uses his lovely teacher (Niamh Cusack) as his voice a lot of the time as she has got him to make a play about his ‘detecting’ so she is reading from his writing. Having found his next door neighbour’s dog speared with a garden fork, Christopher sets about finding out who killed it. This uncovers a tangled web of deceit, lies and emotional relationships which is confusing for him . He likes straight lines, logic and the truth, He does not understand why sometimes it is easier or kinder to lie as he cannot.

This is intense theatre with Luke Treadaway magnetic and mesmerising and physically adept. The choreographed scenes are beautifully and cleverly done and although there is meant to be some humour, I did not find myself laughing very often as this was in many ways a tragedy. Seeing the world through his eyes – the confusion and panic when it is all too much for him and he starts moaning and covering his ears is heart rending.

But it satisfies one of my requirements for theatre; it made me think. And reminded me how difficult the world can be for others. And as we sat in a little bar afterwards we all realised we were those unpleasant, exasperated commuters brilliantly evoked in the second half and I think we all hope we will be a little more tolerant and understanding.

Until the next tourist stops in their tracks immediately in front of me, or wanders aimlessly from side to side not allowing me to overtake, or nearly knocks me flying with their rucksack………….

Definitely worth seeing. So why only three and a half stars? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it is something to do with there not really being any light or shade. That it is so full on all the time. That it is all about him and the other characters are relatively shallow and stereotypical. But that’s exactly how life is for him, so it is in many ways an unfair criticism.  But at the end of the day my star ratings are about my over all enjoyment and the clapometer stops at three and a half.

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6 Responses to “Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time. Three and a half stars”

  1. Kate Morgan Says:

    But you have to read the book……….

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Haven’t seen the show, but this is how I reacted to the book: a bit of an uncomfortable feeling that I was one of the “others” and great appreciation of how the author had captured the overwhelmingly confusing picture of “the spectrum”.

  3. Britta Says:

    I LOVED the show – and would have rated it more than 3 stars – I thought it was so so cleverly done xx


    • I agree completely about the great production and it is the show I’ve had the most difficulty rating – three was too mean, but four was perhaps a step too far for me. I am bloody harsh though!


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