Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The National Theatre’s multi award-winning production The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time, retuned to the North West this week, taking up residency until Saturday 12th March at Manchester’s Opera House.
The stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s international best-selling novel is both captivating and deeply moving. Telling the story of fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone (David Breeds) who at the very beginning of the play discovers the murder of his neighbour’s dog, Wellington. Immediately under suspicion himself, Christopher sets about on a thorough and detailed investigation to discover exactly who has caused Wellington’s demise.
Christopher is an extraordinary boy; complex and remarkable; he sees the world in super fine detail. Colours are more vivid, sounds are louder, people are confusing, and the world is often a very overwhelming place.
As the story develops, we learn more about Christopher’s complexities as he struggles with communication and physical touch, even from his parents in the most difficult of situations. This proves extremely challenging for his parents at times, which results in an extremely powerful alternative connection being portrayed where he uses only his fingertips to connect with them. You can really feel the pain his mother is going through in these scenes which are beautifully portrayed.
David Breeds makes for an excellent Christopher, physically giving his all to the role you desperately want him to succeed and are utterly transfixed by his every move. His interaction with his schoolteacher Siobhan portrayed perfectly by Rebecca Root is wonderful, this gorgeous pairing really complement each other, her belief in his abilities is unshakable while her ability to calm him when life gets overwhelming is truly special.
Movement is a huge part of what makes this play so exceptional, Director Marianne Elliot along with Movement Directors Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett and Adrian Sutton have created something extremely memorable. The piece is visually stunning while the cast mesmerise as their fluid movement is seamless throughout.
Designer Bunny Christie, Lighting Designer Paule Constable, Video Designer Finn Ross and Sound Designer Ian Dickinson give the audience a remarkable insight into the heightened sensory world Christopher lives in. A real standout scene being when Christopher goes on a journey to London. The use of sound, lighting and physical theatre really brings the busy, bustling London Underground to life and allows us to see the world through Christopher’s eyes. It shows starkly just how harrowing navigating the world can be with a social disorder.
This thought-provoking, funny, inspiring play proves once again why it’s one of The National Theatre’s most loved productions. It’s full of heart, packed with humour and most importantly hope. Visually stunning with unforgettable storytelling, Curious Incident is theatre at its finest.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is on at Manchester’s Opera House until Saturday 12th March, tickets available here.