The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: a murder mystery like no other

Grainne Pearson Cockrill

Curious incident

On the 10th of April, I gladly spent my Friday evening watching The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the highly acclaimed Theatre Royal in the busy centre of Nottingham. I had heard many great things about this National Theatre production, and after reading the book I was very excited about watching the play. As I walked into the theatre it seemed like many other avid fans were expecting the same too. However my friend who joined me reassured me that, as someone who had not read the novel, none of the magic was lost on him either.

Directed by Marianne Elliott and adapted from Mark Haddon’s original novel, this story follows a 15-year-old boy called Christopher Boone, a boy with ‘behavioural problems.’ Christopher goes to a special school, and finds solace in mathematics from the pressures of social ‘norms.’ His experiences reflect the lives of those with behavioural difficulties (such as Aspergers syndrome) and those of the people around them. However, this story becomes suddenly wrapped up in a murder mystery like no other. For we must wonder: who killed the neighbour’s dog, Wellington?!

Throughout the actors perform difficult flips, turns and lifts too, all the while reciting their lines perfectly without even the slightest out of breath wheeze – making The Curious Incident definitely no ordinary play either. The explosive physicality of Joshua Jenkins, who plays Christopher, was particularly impressive! In a masterful bit of character acting, he really projected an understanding of what Christopher was going through. With long, difficult monologues that even the most experienced professional of actors would stumble on, I personally was amazed by his performance.

Curious incident2

Another notable performance was that of Geraldine Alexander. She played Siobhan, Christopher’s counsellor, and doubled as the narrator of the play. Emotively reading smartly out of Christopher’s book, Geraldine’s delivery was perfectly in time with Joshua’s routine. In fact the choreography ran smoothly throughout the play, thanks largely to the excellent movement directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggert. This also allowed the cast to switch between characters – from neighbour to Underground traveller – superbly.

Actually, it’s difficult to find any criticism of this production, as it was all amazingly designed, directed and performed. The play lasted about 2 hours and 40 minutes (with a 20 minute interval), and is a ‘must see’ for those aged around 14 and up. But be warned, The Curious Incident may bring back some scary flashbacks to those who are doing or just finishing exams (especially if you are a maths student). However, at the end of the performance there is an extra detailed explanation of some of the A-level maths within the play, so it could make for a refreshing form of revision…? It’s not too late either, as this play will be touring all round the UK and if you don’t mind travelling… I mean, the very cute animals in the performance (including a rat and an adorable puppy) make it worth seeing alone!