Review: 'The curious incident of the dog in the night-time' - UK TOUR

Lewis Baird

This is my second time seeing this play however the first time I seen it was in the West End, therefore could the touring production live up to the production that ran in London.

As soon as you lay your eyes on curious’ stage design you instantly start to wonder how they are going to perform in this cube shaped layout with only a couple of chairs on stage.

As soon as the house lights go down, there is no delay in the play starting. And may I say it is not a slow beginning. Instantly Wellington is seen dead on the floor with the pitch fork through him. Scott Reid played Christopher, I was unsure of how I would like seeing Scott play this part seeing as the only role I have seen him play was on television in BBC Scotland’s hit comedy, Still Game, as “Methadone Mick” may I say this part didn’t seem too challenging but very entertaining. However, completely different from Christopher who is the lead character and the play is based around how he visions the world, as he suffers from Asperger syndrome.

Scott’s portrayal of a fifteen-year-old child with Asperger syndrome was faultless, for him to create the level of detail within that character he must have worked his arse off. Everything he did had a purpose, there was nothing that felt out of sync or over the top, it was a perfect portrayal that didn’t miss a beat. Also may I add, that Scott is from Glasgow, he has a very distinct Glaswegian accent, in this Christopher has a southern English accent. No one would be able to tell that Scott was Scottish unless they already knew.

The relationship between Christopher and his father, Ed, is the journey which weaves throughout this storyline and is the one which takes the audience on an emotional journey. David Michaels played Ed, there was a certain element of naturalism within his performance. He did some very subtle things to make the character three dimensional and have different elements.  Within theatre it is sometimes difficult to be a natural person on stage without it becoming boring, most playwrights create big, interesting characters as they are too frightened to show realism. However, within this play realism is vital, Ed is the character that represents our world as we are seeing this story as Christopher sees it, Ed is the person that represents the realism. David portrays the struggling, on the verge of breaking, single father very well. The first time I seen this show, you felt sorry for the father however it isn’t till the end of the play where you start to feel sorrow for this character due to the actions he makes within the play. David Michaels played Ed really well, there was a lot of moments where you see his desperation and frustration with the way that Christopher reacts to the real world.

Now onto our two leading woman, Emma Beattie plays Judy, Christopher’s mother, when I first seen this play, I thought that Judy was a character designed for the audience to hate due to the way she abandoned her child and husband. However, within this performance, it is clear that the actors definitely influence the way the audience perceive the character and not the writer, director or producer.  Her struggle to repair the devastation she has caused causes ripples between Ed and Christopher. Emma Beattie, portrays an excellent failing mother, her emotional portrayal shows how difficult it can be to support a child with Asperger Syndrome. The previous actress I seen portray this role I felt fell flat as some points within the performance due to there not being enough colour within her performance, however Emma keeps the audience hooked and provides plenty of colour and emotion within her hard hitting performance.

Lucianne McEvoy played Siobhan, who is an assistant teacher that helps Christopher, she is also the narrator. This role is one which is to try and bring positive vibes into the play, that is, until the very end, where we see she has been giving Christopher support throughout all of his exams. However, when it comes to Christopher passing with an A*. Christopher then asks “Does that mean I can do anything?” we see Siobhan stare out to the audience showing a devastated facial expression to communicate to the audience a grim realisation.

The three LED screens on the faces of the cube are a brilliant stage design idea. Curious possibly has the best scenery I have seen. The merger of a simplistic design with some modern age technology works perfectly.

This show also has the best movement chorography I have seen in a mainstream play. Frantic Assembly did well choreographing movement pieces in with the adapting of Mark Haddon’s novel.

Overall this production is practically faultless. I love the hard work the performers put into the production and by the end of each performance they are exhausted. It shows their dedication to their show and also to theatre. In regards to the acting I believe Scott Reid is the best male performance I have seen on stage. If you are in the UK, go see this production!