Striking in its complexity, modern in its production and exceptional in its execution, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time provides a theatre experience like no other. Full of sensory elements and pacy dialogue, the audience is fully drawn into the mindset of the lead character and remain relentlessly so for the whole show.
This stage adaptation by Simon Stephens of the renowned best-selling book by Mark Haddon did not disappoint.
A National Theatre production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is centred on Christopher Boone (David Breeds) a 15yr old teenager that is describes himself as having “some behavioural difficulties”. It is an emotionally charged journey from childhood into independence; naivety to an awareness of being in the world.
Opening dramatically, Christopher is seen to be kneeling by a dog with a pitchfork in it. It is this opener that sets the scene for the overall performance. He is traumatised by the sight and, after being accused of being the killer, takes it upon himself to undertake his own investigation to find the truth à la Sherlock Holmes.
Packed with laughs, quirks and oozing sentiment, you cannot take your eyes off the stage.
The audience accompany Christopher on his journey for clues, gaining insights into his mind, values and interactions. Sensory feedback in Christopher’s world is amplified. Common, everyday sayings make no sense. Navigating – and having the confidence to navigate – a world beyond the home and what is known is a huge, brave step for the protagonist. Prepare for this performance to pull your heartstrings.
David Breeds is exceptional in the lead role – every mannerism, glance and intonation carry weight. The audience root for him to succeed and survive. Tom Peters and Sophie Stone are perfectly placed as his parents, conveying depths of emotion that fills the theatre effortlessly. The structure in the chaos is held together expertly by Christopher’s teacher Siobhan. Rebecca Root shines in this role bringing calmness to calamity, capturing the impact a grounding adult can have on young people.
Director Marianne Elliot and the crew have brought to life the plight of Christopher’s world in a unique, accessible way. Boundaries are pushed. Simple in the props but big on the delivery, must-see elements of this show are the movement, digital effects and creativity in communicating. From start to finish, no detail is left unturned. The result is an engrossing detective style story on the surface that is underpinned by individual, believable human narratives.
Whilst you would expect a high-quality performance from a National Theatre production that’s graced the West End, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night goes beyond this. It delivers an unforgettable theatre experience. Running until the 26th March 2022 at the Liverpool Empire, get your ticket here https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time/liverpool-empire/
Reviewer: Ezzy LaBelle
Reviewed: 22nd March 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★