If there was ever a book that you would have difficulty imagining how it would be brought to life on stage, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is it. But what a triumph! This intense adaptation by Simon Stephens of the story of 15-year-old Christopher who sees the world differently is a powerful visual representation of what it’s like for an adolescent to make his way in the world with what could be Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism – it’s never made clear in the book or the play what exactly he suffers from, but that’s the whole point. This is normal life for Christopher.
The grid-like, ultra modern stage contrasts sharply with the baroque Gielgud Theatre, and represents the inside of Christopher’s head which sometimes erupts into an overwhelming chaos of senses, that can usually only be calmed by the order of numbers or repetition.
It’s a heart warming yet energetic play that will appeal to teenagers, no doubt going through their own versions of what Christopher has to cope with around family life, taking exams and generally growing up. This book is also on the national curriculum so a great one to take them too. Humour is contrasted with pain, frustration and sadness and the pace is fast. The play ingeniously conveys the emotions felt by teenagers everywhere that the world is both limitless in what they can achieve and yet a hard frustrating place where even the smallest task can be an effort.
The play is also intensely physical and the cast undergo a physical warm up before every performance. Sion Daniel Young who plays Christopher is totally believable in the part. So much so, that during an after-show audience Q&A with members of the cast, one audience member who has lived with someone with Asperger Syndrome said he found the play and Sion’s performance ‘moving and responsible’. Go see it!
Where: The Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6AR (If you happen to be holidaying in New York, you can also catch it on Broadway!
When: Now until February 2016
Price: Tickets cost £15 to £59.50
Find out more: 0844 482 5130, delfontmackintosh.co.uk