THE National Theatre’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has several claims to fame.
One – the title is one of the longest in British theatre history. Two, it has some of the most intricate lighting effects ever seen on stage. Three, it’s very complicated. Or am I mistaken – is this play’s plot too simple for words?
Oddly enough, the Press night for “Curious” was held as the run at the Lowry was ending. Why? No-one seemed to have a definitive answer. One suggestion is that the lighting is so complex, those in the know in the theatre wanted “Curious” to bed-in before presenting it for in-depth scrutiny.
I had the benefit of seeing the show in London at the end of summer. And it was, and still is, a totally absorbing piece of theatre about autism (and so much more) at the centre of which is a young man whose brain doesn’t work quiet as it should. It was food – no, a banquet – for thought.
There wasn’t a ticket to be had as this towering theatrical experience drew to its Salford end. Word of its sheer and entertaining and enthralling excellence had spread like wild-fire.
The play by Simon Stephens based on Mark Haddon’s book is absolutely and totally memorable and it crafts its way through the young life of Christopher, who is determined to discover who killed his neighbour’s dog with a pitchfork.
Welsh actor Joshua Jenkins gives a superb and at times mesmerising performance as the boy with Aspergers syndrome. Through brilliant lighting effects and amazing stage techniques, we go into Christopher’s brain to attempt to understand and to work out his actions and motivations.
The play has a deep educational aspect and as the action bounces about the stage, we see things in different lights. And there’s a suggestion that perhaps there’s a little bit of Aspergers in everyone. People with compulsions, addicted list makers and diary keepers. And so very many more.
“Curious” is unique among plays. It’s a theatrical eye-opener. A masterpiece of its kind.
The play will be coming to Liverpool Empire later this year.