Last night I saw The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time at Bristol Hippodrome. This is a play I’ve been wanting to see for a long time, and I was not disappointed.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is a stage adaptation by Simon Stephens of the 2003 book of the same name by Mark Haddon. It focusses on the central character Christopher who is 15 and has Aspergers syndrome. One night he finds his neighbours dog dead, killed by a garden fork, and is very upset. He decides to investigate to find out who killed the dog, as a project.
Christopher attends a special school and has a close connection with his support worker Siobhan. He lives with his Dad and has been told that his Mother has died of a heart attack. As the story unfolds we discover that all is not as it seems, family secrets are revealed and we see the impact that this has on Christopher.
Scott Reid played Christopher in last nights performance and was absolutely brilliant. It’s an extremely demanding role physically and mentally and he was believable and engaging throughout. David Michaels as Christopher’s Dad Ed was also superb. His portrayal of the struggle of being a single dad to a teenager with Aspergers was touching and accurate.
The entire cast was very strong. I particularly liked Eliza Collins as Mrs Gascoyne, a teacher at Christopher’s school. Ed’s fight with her to allow Christopher to take an a-level is a very familiar battle to the parents of children with special educational needs.
The play involves lots of physical theatre, using the ensemble to carry and manipulate central characters. These aspects were skilful, entertaining and really helped to bring the story to life. I particularly liked the scene where Christopher describes his desire to be an astronaut and is exploring how that would feel.
The set was phenomenal. A five sided open cube of techno wizardry which lit up in a variety of ways. It also displayed Christopher’s chalk pictures as he drew on the floor. Sections of the cube opened up to be cupboards, draws and a table. Versatile and seriously impressive.
Autism, the play, and us;
As an autistic woman and the parent of two children with autism, this play was particularly relevant to me. Parts of the play made me feel emotional as I recognised aspects of my son in Christopher. I felt that they portrayed autism in a way that I recognised and connected with, and as difficult a watch as it was, it was also enjoyable.
Would I recommend it;
This play ranks in my top five theatre experiences and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you go to see it as soon as possible! For more information and tour dates visit this website.