Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Apollo Theatre

Being a new stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s critically acclaimed 2003 novel and the winner of seven Olivier awards undoubtedly creates very high expectations for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

It’s a production in which little expense has been spared – which is why the biggest star of the show is the set itself. It looks like a big, black box, with gridlines across the floor and walls, and is fully decked out with in-floor lights. Paule Constable, the lighting designer, should certainly be applauded for the affects he manages to achieve with this.  Along with the sound and music, it makes the show very much a spectacle.

However, it means that The Curious Incident loses some of the intimacy gained from live performance, as all the effects mean that there is little space for actual ‘acting’. It isn’t helped by the large theatre: the actors come across as being rather shouty since it’s necessary for them to project. This is particular troublesome for Niamh Cusack who plays Christopher Boon’s teacher, Siobhan. She reads from the book that Christopher (played in this performance by Johnny Gibbon) has written which narrates the series of events that unfolds before us. Because her role in the action of the play is small, she comes across as an over-enthusiastic, even patronising narrator.

But perhaps this loss of intimacy is a better representation of what is going on in Christopher’s head. While he is an excellent mathematician, he has trouble understanding human interaction. Since the story is very much told from his perspective, it makes sense for that it is less about sentimental relationship between characters, and more on the events at hand.

Yet that is not to say that there are no opportunities for the actors to shine. Gibbon doubtlessly carries the show: his Christopher is humorous and endearing. His relationship with his father (Paul Ritter) isn’t overly sentimental but entirely realistic. It means that Ritter’s confession at the climax of the first half really stands-out, purely because it is by far the longest and most heart-felt outpouring of emotion in the play.

 

Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is on at the Apollo Theatre throughout the summer. For information on buying tickets, follow this link: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time-at-the-apollo-theatre

For further photos of the production, and video trailers, visit the productions official website: http://www.curiousonstage.com/

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  1. THEATRE THURSDAY: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Apollo Theatre) | 'Ow am yau?

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