The Curious Incident
“I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical, but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is a story about an autistic teenager, a murder and the secrets lives of others. Playwright, Simon Stephens adapted this well-known novel by Mark Haddon in 2004 and the show has since won seven Olivier Awards and continues its nationwide tour at the Lowry in Salford.
The production magnifies the world of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old who lives in Swindon and is continually challenged by his daily life. Christopher prefers his own company and takes most sayings literally but his love of maths and science motivate the majority of his actions. The novel is able to convey Christopher’s calculated quirks through randomly placed facts and tangents on a screen that encompasses the entire stage. Although, Christopher's habits can be fairly distancing to the reader in the novel, the inventive staging often presents his outsider perspective through others eyes.
The Lowry Theatre exposes far more than the novel. In an imaginative set design, that is essentially Christopher’s brain. This incredibly ambitious production explains the set of rules that surround Christopher’s life and expand on his thoughts like a magic box.
Christopher's world is one of many rules. A fact that is reflected directly onto the stage, a clean and clinical box with hidden doors and compartments. Cast members become the scenery in a physically morphing set that mirrors Christopher’s dizzying experiences.
The challenge surrounding The Curious Incident production is the characters lack of empathy and his difficulty in interpreting and conveying emotions. The play works because it is genuinely funny and sincere in its story of difference.
Christopher, who is played magnificently by Joshua Jenkins is asked to run in practically every scene and is never off stage. The Lowry has Jenkins playing to an assorted audience of students and seniors in a demanding role that he lovingly portrays. With so few props on stage, Jenkins performance includes physical ticks, lifts and intense scenes of emotions that the audience are glued to.
Jenkins has a quality that the audience can read from the back of the theatre and it carries the production. Dramatic in its simplicity, The Curious Incident is one of the best productions I have ever seen. It is a story that is grounded in reality yet entirely fantastical.