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REVIEW: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Hero, over at Muddy Bucks & Oxon, managed to snaffle what must have been one of the last tickets available for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time recently, and she loved it.  It’s on tour, though, so there’s always a chance to catch it somewhere else.

Curious Incident

I saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre the other night. The good news was that it was an extraordinary piece of theatre, one of the most exciting, surprising, physical and engaging pieces of theatre I’ve seen in years. The bad news is that it’s totally sold out at Aylesbury already, so unless you are incredibly lucky with returns, you won’t be seeing it this time round.

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But pah! to that kind of defeatist attitude and let’s have some good news again: the play will be coming to Oxford’s New Theatre in July (14-18) and much later on to Milton Keynes (3-7 Nov) so you have some time to book tickets to this brilliant piece of theatre.

 

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If you haven’t read the Mark Haddon book from which the play is adapted, it follows 15 year old Christopher, a child with Asperger Syndrome who has an extraordinary maths ability, but also difficulty interpreting everyday life. When he falls under suspicion of killing his neighbour’s dog, his carefully ordered world starts to unravel and he runs away from home to find his mum in London.

curious Photos by BrinkhoffM+Âgenburg of Original West End Cast.JPG-pwrt2

It’s the sort of synopsis that, on paper, might have you slugging away at the Black Tower, but actually the play, like the book, is ultimately uplifting with moments of real humour. I took my 12 year old son and he was absolutely entranced (admittedly assisted by the strobe lighting and thumping music). This is the child who rocked back and forward in agonised boredom while Nigel Kennedy played the best version of The Four Seasons I have EVER GODDAM HEARD (yep, I’m still carrying that anger around with me, with no hope of release!) so it speaks volumes for Curious Incident that he loved it so much.

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The interpretation of the play feels very modern – lights flash, music pumps, Christopher’s mental turmoil is thumped and strobed out so we can feel his pain and confusion. The physicality of the actors is astounding too, especially Joshua Jenkins as Christopher who is incredible, perfectly conveying Christopher’s autistic vulnerability and natural stubborn teenage rebellion whilst in almost constant movement on the stage – at one stage walking sideways across a vertical wall, and jumping, falling, or being held by supporting actors as we see him in his imagination as an astronaut.

Yep, that's the dead dog.

I won’t go on and on, but you’re getting the picture I hope – this is one of the rare plays when I really shout it out loud and clear – BOOK IT, AND FAST.

Book tickets for New Theatre Oxford (14-18 July)

Book tickets for Milton Keynes Theatre (3-7 Nov)

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