15-26 September 2015
Reviewed by Janet Linsell
The play is based upon the book of the same title written by Mark Haddon, a bestselling novel published in 2003 and Whitbread prize winner of 2004.The play produced by the National Theatre and directed by Marianne Elliot is an adaptation by Simon Stephens, an award winning playwright. With this pedigree our expectations are naturally high and this production met them magnificently.
The story unfolds from the pages of Christopher’s novel. Christopher is a highly gifted mathematician who has major behavioural problems when relating to other people. His version of Asperger’s Syndrome restricts him to strictly logical thought processes, absolute honesty and total rejection of any human physical contact, leading to misunderstandings which he often tackles with violent confrontation.
The title derives from the killing of a neighbour’s dog, a crime of which he is at first suspected and that Christopher then determines to solve with inspiration from his “hero” Sherlock Holmes. His blunt naive questioning of neighbour’s brings out parallel threads of his life, the breakdown of his parent’s marriage and his determination to sit A level Maths at the age of fifteen, despite the fact that no-one from his special school has ever taken an examination. Things come to a head when he uncovers his father’s lies and leaves the family home in Swindon. For Christopher this is a terrifying and dangerous journey.
The scenes described in the book are complex and often within Christopher’s head. The production solves this by clever set design with effective use of digital technology. The play takes place within a box, the three sides of large graphs and the floor being display boards for lighting effects. The scenes within the London Underground of a busy station with fast, noisy and chaotic motion of trains and people are convincingly conveyed. It brings to us a glimpse of Christopher’s view of a world of overwhelming confusion and disorder.
Despite Christopher’s fears and struggles this is a warm, amusing and optimistic view of his life, played with verve and energy by Joshua Jenkins he convinces as the sometimes troubled, confused teenager with supreme confidence in his mathematical abilities. Two others of particular note were Geraldine Alexander as narrator and tutor and Stuart Laing as the long suffering father.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and judging by the enthusiastic applause of the audience in this full house at the Lyceum, so did everyone else. Just note that the special effects include bright flashing lights and loud noises.
As always the Lyceum Theatre Sheffield is very welcoming with friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff. The production continues until Saturday 26th September with tickets from £14 for matinees and up to £28 for evenings. Note that costs on Fridays and Saturdays are higher. There is ample parking and there are many nearby restaurants in Sheffield City centre.
Tickets cost from £14 to £32 (booking fees may apply).
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield until 26 September 2015. or more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Lyceum Theate, Norfolk St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000