National Theatre’s ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time’ UK tour has arrived at Glasgow King’s Theatre. The play follows Christopher, fifteen years old, we join his journey as he stands beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain. He is exceptional at maths, while everyday life presents some barriers. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road; he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbour’s dog, it takes him on a journey that upturns his world.
Connor Curren brings realism, vulnerability, comedy and heartbreaking emotion in his staggering portrayal of Christopher Boone. This character has been portrayed by actors previously that often compensate to understand the complexity that comes with Christopher, however, with Connor relating to the character’s struggles personally it brings a whole new dimension to the role. Connor’s reactions to Christopher facing over exposure or moments beyond his sensory comfortability are unfiltered, they are also more believable than in previous portrayals, this gives the audience even more of a chance to be empathetic or connect to the character. The physical track of this role is possibly the most demanding in UK theatre, being on stage for the full play and also performing intricate frantic assembly movement sequences is enough to exhaust the fittest of performers. However, throughout the performance there isn’t a dip in energy from Connor and his execution of the visually stunning choreography is sublime. This is an incredible performance from a young Scottish actor.
Rebecca Root brings light in the darkest of moments as Siobhan. Rebecca not only delivers Siobhan as one of the most open and friendly characters for Christopher to connect to, but also for the audience to resonate with her, as there is clear empathy portrayed through the dialogue and also a maternal instinct prominently present within Siobhan. This portrayal showcases Rebecca’s range and adaptability in terms of Siobhan being a present character in Christopher’s narrative while also acting as a narrator, the switching of this persona is seamless. Rebecca also delivers the heartbreaking final blow of this play with such realism and raw emotion.
Tom Peters delivers a broken father, struggling to keep his head above water as Ed Boone. Tom manages to deliver the character’s frustration and pain in a way which doesn’t isolate him from the audience. The naturalism and realistic build of frustration within tense scenes really helps open up the character, even when Ed takes the most unthinkable actions, you understand him. Tom’s relationship with Connor’s Christopher is an endearing yet turbulent journey which drives the narrative perfectly, the two actors capture this complex relationship with such depth and emotion.
Sophie Stone brings us Judy, a woman with two conflicting worlds, her failing life as a mother to Christopher and complicated love life. Judy is a character which is often seen as a villain due to her relationships with Ed and Roger Shears (played by Ashley Gerlach), however, Sophie presents her as a woman who is in over her head and is struggling to keep her life on the tracks. The love for Christopher portrayed by Sophie shows Judy’s desperation in trying to connect and care for her son. Sophie brings us Judy in a way which focuses on her struggles rather than her flaws, giving a more well-rounded and open insight to the audience.
The supporting cast for this production take on a multitude of characters, bringing such energy and focus. The ensemble for this production are as follows; Joanne Henry (Mrs Alexander & Posh Woman), Hannah Sinclair Robinson (Mrs Shears, Mrs Gascoyne, Woman on Train, Woman on the Heath & Shopkeeper), Ashley Gerlach (Roger Shears, Duty Sergeant, Mr Wise & Man Behind Counter), David Monteith (Reverand Peters, Station Policeman & Uncle Terry), Kofi De-Graft Jordan (Policeman One, Mr Thompson, Man With Socks & London Policeman), Siu-see Hung (No 40, Lady in Street, Information & Punk Girl), and who can forget Oreo/Biscoff who both share the role of Toby.
Marianne Elliot’s direction of ‘Curious Incident’ is utterly stunning, this is one of the best productions of the 21st Century thanks to to Marianne’s contemporary approach to staging Mark Haddon’s much-loved book. The audience experience the narrative through Christopher’s eyes, helping us understand why so many simple actions are often so difficult to endure for our protagonist. Simon Stephens’ script for ‘Curious Incident’ is one which captures humanity with such a natural scope, the dialogue is raw and unfiltered. Stephens’ script mixed with Elliot’s direction creates a masterpiece. Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett’s movement direction for this production brings such creativity and life to create settings which are represented by incredible video projection designed by Finn Ross. Bunny Christie’s cube stage design is now iconic within worldwide theatre, many upon first impressions would see the stage as bare, however this set is so dynamic and creates Christopher’s world so beautifully. Paule Constable’s lighting lifts scenes and helps amplify moments of sensory overload, letting the audience understand Christopher’s struggles.
‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ is one of the best theatre productions in the world, and this UK Touring production celebrating the play’s 10th anniversary is it’s best incarnation. The cast within this production are so incredibly talented, they portray the story with such understanding, energy, emotion and focus. You must see this production if you love theatre.
Get your tickets for ‘Curious Incident’ here: