THEATRE: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Theatre Production

I mentioned yesterday that I had been to see The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time at His Majesty's Theatre, but I wanted to write a little more about it - partly, let's be honest, because I was given the tickets by the venue and want to say thanks, but also, largely, because I loved the show so much.

Now, let's get this out of the way from the start: I have NO IDEA how to review a play in proper theatrical terms; if the mise-en-scène (check that, eh? That's first year Film Studies coming into use at long, long last) was particularly avant-garde (all the French!) my description of it will be "the stuff on the stage looked good".

But I know whether or not I have an emotional reaction to something and that's what all the clever, technical, arty, talented stuff is all about, right?

And I had emotional reactions to this.

Confession number two: I hadn't read the book that the play is based on. I had heard of it and I had a vague idea that it was something to do with asperger's syndrome but that was all. It seemed like a good idea to head along to the theatre with that level of knowledge; I wanted to know if the play would make sense without a synopsis.

And it did.

The friend who came with me had read the book, however, and had absolutely loved it. She was the voice of "how on earth are they going to translate all those diagrams to the stage?" and she made lots of impressed noises when she got her answer.

So: that's thumbs up from both parties.

(Is this still making sense? I've got ten minutes until my dinner's ready and I'm hammering it out in a hungry daze)

It turns out that the premise of the book/play is that a fifteen year old boy with asperger's syndrome decides to find out who murdered his neighbour's dog. In the course of his investigation, he both uncovers some enormous secrets which have been kept hidden from him and faces up to a number of situations which might seem everyday to you and me (think: navigating a train station) but which are overwhelming to him.

And it was incredible. The panic and confusion which he feels so many times throughout the play was absolutely tangible; the anger and frustration, too; the sense of helplessness experienced by the adults in his life came across loud and clear.

And yet, despite all of those overwhelming, unpleasant emotions, it was love and courage and ambition and hope which I felt most strongly. I wanted him to succeed; I wanted him to cope; I wanted to get up on the stage and help him through things (but hoped that he wouldn't need me to).

It was beautiful.

(Eh, somebody insert the appropriate final review paragraph here, could you?)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is only in Aberdeen until Saturday so, locals, you'll need to be super quick to catch it (it's heading to Glasgow, Norwich and Milton Keynes next), but the National Theatre will be back in town twice more this year - first, with Jane Eyre, which runs from 28th August-2nd September, and then Hedda Gabler, which runs from 21st-25th November. I'd be keen to check either of them out (but guess I'll be giving the late November one a miss!).

(Aaaaaaaaah, my dinner's ready! *hits publish without proofreading and runs*)

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