The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Simon Stephens

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher, fifteen years old, 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, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world. 3.9 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue National Theatre, Cottesloe
Director Marianne Elliott
Cast Luke Treadaway, Niamh Cusack, Paul Ritter, Nicola Walker, Sophie Duval, Nick Sidi, Matthew Barker, Rhiannon Harper-Rafferty, Howard Ward
From July 2012
Until October 2012
Box Office 020 7452 3000
 

Christopher, fifteen years old, 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, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

NT Live Broadcast 6 September

Reviews

The Guardian

Michael Billington

I flinch from manipulative touches such as miniaturised trains and a live dog: two things calculated to send audiences into swooning raptures. But this is a highly skilful adaptation, and Paul Ritter and Nicola Walker as Christopher's parents movingly remind us of the messily contradictory human emotions that co-exist with their son's world of perfect patterns.

03/08/2012

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The Independent

Michael Coveney

Personally, I’m sorry the lad trades his rodent Toby for an audience-baiting real-live sweetheart puppy at the end. It’s a grisly sentimental moment at odds with the rest. But the rest is just terrific, starting with a great doggy corpse stuck with a garden fork that sets Christopher off on his detection trail.

03/08/2012

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The Daily Mail

Patrick Marmion

Elliott’s production does sentimentalise a tale that’s already fairly squidgy beneath its straight-talking facade. But its real problem is that the adaptation finds itself staging what is only implied between the lines of a book narrated by the emotionally isolated Christopher Boone. His world is, therefore, less enigmatic and unsettling than it is in the book.

09/08/2012

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The Observer

Susannah Clapp

Luke Treadaway powers himself into another acting realm as Christopher: with his concentrated face and flailing limbs, he is steadily intelligent but physically shaken, mentally agile and emotionally inflexible. He painfully projects the horror of someone who cannot bear to be touched. He does the best – or the first? – imitation of what it's like to wee in a train lavatory. When he suggests audiences might remain after the show to listen to his proof of a maths question, 90% stay in their seats.

05/08/2012

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The Stage

Lisa Martland

The best thing then about Marianne Elliott’s production, adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens, is that we see the world through Christopher’s eyes, whether it is through the murder mystery story he writes after having discovered his neighbour’s dog killed with a garden fork, or the massive sensory overload of noise and images that overwhelms him when he bravely journeys to London. Witnessing the huge strain on his parents - unconditional in their love but desperate in their frustration - is the more powerful because we see that Christopher is seemingly immune to the complexities of their feelings.

03/08/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Laura Thompson

This adaptation by the acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens is intensely, innately theatrical; it is also funny and extremely moving. In the manner of the RSC’s legendary Nicholas Nickleby, it sets the constancy of the text – from which the actors quote – against the agile conjuring of the here-and-now. There is a framing device of sorts, wherein Christopher is encouraged by a teacher to turn his narrative into a school play; in a sense, therefore, he is directing the 'cast’. But this concept is not laboured, and indeed the entire production is characterised by a breathless fluidity that is emotional rather than cerebral.

03/08/2012

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Time Out

Andrzej Lukowski

In normalising the narrative, Stephens has opened the gates for some truly stellar performances. Luke Treadaway is astonishing as Christopher: with his ramrod straight posture, nervously twitching hands and high, precise voice he is strange, funny, brave and sympathetic. But he is also pitiless. Trapped in a world where metaphors and common sense and the colour yellow and his parents' touch will always seem impossibly alien to him, he is without any sentiment.

03/08/2012

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The Times

Libby Purves

Brilliant, deep and funny. And for mathematicians, there is a quirky coda after the curtain-call and a cheeky NT joke on the West End’s pricey “premium” seats.

04/08/2012

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The Sunday Times

David Jays

The story is cute around the edges, and Elliott surrenders to the occasional soppy touch that reminds us what a truly terrible film might be made. Christopher, who cannot tell a lie, distrusts fiction; the script matches this idea by suggesting that we might be watching a school play based on Christopher’s book. A twee, half-hearted conceit, it is buckled on late and, thankfully, abandoned.

05/08/2012

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The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

Stephens exalts in imagining misfits - in all their sincerity and weirdness. True to the original novel, his version drips with ideas, especially about the nature of objects and the importance in our world of mathematical sequences.

03/08/2012

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The Daily Express

Simon Edge

Once actors depict Christopher’s harassed parents or his neighbours Mr and Mrs Shears, we see the characters through our eyes not his. Playwright Simon Stephens makes Christopher’s teacher read his account so we still hear his words, but the device doesn’t work because it gives the boy’s unique voice to someone else. So however powerful Luke Treadaway’s central performance, and however imaginative Marianne Elliott’s staging, I spent most of the first half thinking that Haddon’s novel should have remained in book form.

07/08/2012

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The Financial Times

Alexander Gilmour

Haddon has said that his book is “not really about Christopher at all. It’s about us”. For this to be true – viscerally true – the audience must be able to project themselves on to Christopher. Yet while Haddon leaves holes in his narrator’s appearance on the page, on stage we are confronted with an actor – Luke Treadaway, in this case, dressed in a blue hoody, grey tracksuit bottoms and red socks. Naturally, those holes are filled in – and with a certain skill – but they are filled in too boldly.

05/08/2012

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