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Review The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Show

Christoper on stage The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Show
9 Mar 2022

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time show has arrived at Manchester Opera House and we were invited along to check it out. Discover what we thought in our review here. 

 Based on Mark Haddon’s bestselling 2003 novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time returns to Manchester. We were invited along to the press night and we sent our On The Go Reviewer Sean read on to see what he thought.

Review The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Show

Winning 7 Olivier Awards during its initial London run in 2012, the play follows amateur detective Christopher Boone’s hunt for the murderer of his neighbour’s dog, Wellington.

Christopher is 15 years old and has autism. He finds complex mathematics easy but struggles to communicate with his family. He knows everything there is to know about space, but is too scared to leave his street. He likes the colour red but definitely doesn’t like the colour yellow.

The play starts in chaos. Christopher is caught at the scene of the canine crime and in defending himself, manages to get into a scuffle with a police officer. The audience’s confusion about the cacophony of voices, noises and lights give us an insight into Christopher’s condition.

Christopher’s initial detective work eventually leads him on to an even bigger mystery. This one involves his father, his deceased mother and letters he find stashed at the bottom of a wardrobe. And this mystery has far bigger emotional consequences and will take Christopher and his pet Toby from their home in Swindon to the bright lights and travel chaos of London.

It takes a while for the play to settle into a rhythm as we work out who’s who and how they relate to Christopher.

The central role of Christopher is a big task for a young actor. David Breeds is on stage for the duration of the two and a half hour runtime and it’s a physically and emotionally demanding role.

He mines the comedy of Christopher’s fish out of water relationships and breaks your heart as he navigates the challenges of communicating when living with neurodiversity.

David Breeds Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Photo credit Brinkhoff MoegenburgPhoto credit Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Tom Peters’ Ed gives a grounded performance as Christopher’s beleaguerTom Peters’ Ed gives a grounded performance as Christopher’s beleaguered dad and Kate Kordel adds a lot of heart as Judy, Christopher’s mum.

Another stand-out is Rebecca Root playing Christopher’s teacher Siobhan. A host of other actors play a wide variety of roles and add comedy and realism as required. Christopher’s pet rat Toby adds some comic relief.

I can’t be sure which rodent actor played Toby as the programme lists both Biscoff and Oreo, but they played their part wonderfully and I expect to see big things in their future. Also look out for another furry friend who gets the best response of the night towards the end of Act 2.

Kate KordelJudy in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Photo credit Brinkhoff MoegenburgPhoto credit Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

In addition to the central performances, the real star of the show is Bunny Christie’s set. Staging, lighting and sound all come together perfectly to help us understand the challenges of Christopher’s autism. Christie’s futuristic set is made up of straight lines and boxes, reflecting the rigid way Christopher experiences the world.

The set has a lot to do as we follow Christopher’s journey and it memorably creates a wide variety of locations, including the London Underground, Hampstead Heath and a police station. It’s no surprise that three of the seven Olivier’s won by the original play were for sound, set design and lighting.

David Breeds Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Photo credit Brinkhoff MoegenburgImage credit – Photo credit Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

One of the joys of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is that it’s a play of real light and shade. There are thrilling moments of characters walking on walls and moving as one during rush hour on the Underground.

This high octane physicality is beautifully juxtaposed with tender moments between characters who love each other but aren’t always sure how to best communicate their feelings.

This play is a joy. Imaginative, funny and emotional – get yourself down to the Manchester Opera House to find out what really happened with the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.

Sean Bookless

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is playing at the Manchester Opera House until Saturday 12th March and tickets can be booked here. 

Main Photo credit Brinkhoff-Moegenburg 

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