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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Review

The National Theatre first produced the stage adaptation of Mark Haddon's beloved novel back in 2012, 10 years on since that critically acclaimed adaption the show continues to dazzle and delight audiences as its heads on a national tour stopping at Nottingham's Theatre Royal this week.

Haddon's novel was adapted to the stage by Simon Stephens and under director Marianne Elliott it's not hard to see why the show has had such lasting appeal. It really is a remarkable piece of theatre that you simply have to see.

Connor Curren (Christopher) and the company of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg .

The story tells of 15-year-old Christopher who has the most extraordinary brain, exceptional in his knowledge but being ill-equipped to face everyday life. He spends his time often alone, hates being touched, distrusts strangers and has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road. As the play beings, we find Christopher strewn over a neighbour's dog that has been murdered. What beings as a detective with Christopher determined to solve the mystery turns into a family drama as revelations and secrets unravel.

The writing is brilliant as is exquisite staging the whole time it feels like we're dissecting Christopher's brain. The journey he goes on from pushing himself beyond his own boundaries, especially as he sets off on an amazingly staged and lit journey from Swindon to London all by himself with his only companion his faithful pet rat Toby. 

Bunny Christie's design is made up of squares that correlate to Christopher's mathematical mind with hidden doors, cupboards and shelves in various parts of the set. Video design by Finn Ross which is projected on the stage is visually mesmerising as it viscerally creates moods again feeling as an audience that we're really inside Christopher's mind and creating a mind map. With the use of light designed by Paule Constable and video, the journey to London is particularly impressive.

Connor Curren.(Christopher) in 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Connor Curren is simply phenomenal as Christopher. He is never off stage, has endless material and the whole performance is completely transfixing. Work has been done with neurodiverse and autistic communities and the work that Curren does is unforgettable in characterising the role.

There are impressive performances from Kate Kordel as Judy (Christopher's mother), Tom Peters as Ed (Christopher's father) and Rebecca Root as teacher and confidant Siobhan. The ensemble largely sits on the stage feels like one whole fluid movement with movement done by Frantic Assembly. 

The show is brought to life with heart and great care. At times the production is by no means an easy watch because the whole time it feels very real. As someone who has grown up around autism, the story hit home very closely. I was completely blown away by it all. A modern masterpiece.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time continues at Theatre Royal Nottingham until Saturday 12th February 2022. Tickets are available from The UK and Ireland tour continues visit The National Theatre website for the full tour schedule and tickets.

Connor Curren (Christopher) in 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

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