If I’m being totally honest with you I wasn’t that fussed on seeing The Curious Incident. My preferred form of escapism is fantasy. But I’m glad I opened my mind to it.
It is a story of a boy with an exceptional mind; a story of his telling and from his perspective. Christopher has Asperger’s Syndrome, though it is not directly stated within the play, and he finds people difficult to understand and interact with. But the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time propels him on a brave journey just to find out what has happened and entails interacting with perfect strangers. His detective works uncovers greater trials for the young lad and all who surround him.
Mark Haddon, the writer of the best-selling novel of the same name, highlights that we all have particular eccentricities; whether it’s how food is arranged on a plate, our preferences when it comes to using public bathrooms or a particular way things are organised in the home, work or at school. In Christopher it is the number and combination of his eccentricities which causes him difficulties. As the play is centred on Christopher and his behavioural difficulties, it does provide insight into individuals who do have accelerated difficulties. Though there are certain situations that Christopher endures that would seem difficult to anyone with or without a diagnosed behavioural condition.
It is a story that helps us to understand the parents we see struggling with their children in the street, it encourages empathy for friends we see experiencing such difficulties day to day but more importantly though, it highlights the immense strength and bravery that we all have the capability to draw on.
At times it’s harrowing to see Christopher face overwhelming facts and challenges and his parents struggles both personally and with a child with such challenges and demands. It’s clever in its delivery where the stage is magical and offers and an extension into how Christopher’s mind works. It is overwhelming in the emotional journey this story leads you on and imaginative in a way that you see the world and people from an entirely new perspective.
As always it is the cast that really tells the story. Scott Reid as Christopher was just exceptional; it is hard to believe that I was simply watching someone tell a story. I felt that I was experiencing someone’s life. He really took me through the emotions right alongside him. Lucianne McEvoy as Siobhan- Christopher’ teacher and on occasion portrayed an extension of Christopher’s mind, and David Michaels as Christopher’s Father were also commendable. Other cast members of course offer incredible support in the deliverance of this remarkable story but for me it is the relationship between Christopher and his Father and Christopher and Siobhan that made the show what it was for me.
I haven’t read the book to delve into comparisons. However, it is a testament to the number of people that have seen and continue to see this show since its debut in 2012. Whether you’ve read it or not is irrelevant. Whether directly, or indirectly, you’ll resonate with this show. You’ll enjoy it and be astounded by it. You’ll tell everyone you know of the extraordinary story of Christopher and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Photos by: BrinkhoffM+Âgenburg