Hannah Foster

REVIEW: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

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In recent years the Sunderland Empire Theatre have hosted some of the best new productions that have hit the stage. The most recent to hit the West End of the North East is ‘The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time’.

Based on the novel by Mark Haddon, ‘Curious Incident’ tells the tale of Christopher Boone, a 15 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. One night he discovers that someone has killed his neighbour’s dog, resulting in a journey that nobody would expect.

The first thing to mention is that the set is incredible; the entire stage is a giant, black cube that is full of LED lights. It really helps to bring you closer to the play, and almost helps you understand the mindset of Christopher. Another thing that I didn’t realise until the play had finished was that the walls represented a maths grid. A strong theme throughout the entire play is mathematics, with the subject being a specialist one for Christopher. Once again, this then helps the audience to try and understand what is happening in the lead characters mind as the play continues.

Joshua Jenkins portrays the character of Christopher Boone, and does so amazingly. It is never said that the character has Asperger’s syndrome, merely ‘behavioural problems’. The way that Joshua presents the character means there is no need for it to be physically told to the audience.

Christopher’s parents, played by Stuart Laing and Gina Isaac, excellently portrayed the journey of a family living with their only son diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Throughout the play the entire cast are sat around the edges of the stage, taking on multiple roles each scene. Each character is incredibly well portrayed, showing how talented each actor truly is.  

The entire play is an emotional roller-coaster, taking the audience through themes of death, truth, bravery and many more. Christopher is an endearing character that you take to your heart, and it quickly becomes apparent that you carry his emotions with you. I would be lying to say that I wasn’t in floods of tears by the final scene, with an ending that really tugs on your heartstrings you could clearly hear a few sniffs throughout the audience. Also there’s an actual puppy in it and he was adorable. So for any fellow dog lovers, be prepared.

This was one of the best plays that I have ever seen. It is magical and everything in it is perfect. It is a great way to bring awareness to Asperger’s Syndrome in a positive light, and show that anyone is able to achieve anything if they set their minds to it.

You must stay to the very end though, as after the bow you are able to witness something heart-warming that brings the story full circle.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time will be at the Sunderland Empire Theatre until Saturday August 15, and is not one to be missed!