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Curiously Brilliant

Published by: Mark Ridyard on 19th Aug 2015 | View all blogs by Mark Ridyard

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Just over 3 years since its opening at The National Theatre, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time made its way to the King’s Theatre, Glasgow, last night for the start of a 6-performance-run.

It focuses on the life of a teenager with Asperger Syndrome who, as the tale begins, is accused of murdering a neighbour’s dog with a garden fork. The story follows his investigation into the dog’s death, as well as the relationship with his parents and teacher, and is based on the 2003 novel by Mark Haddon. The original production holds a record for the most Olivier Awards wins (seven) and works as a “play within a play”.

Walking into the auditorium 15 minutes before curtain, your eyes are instantly drawn to the open stage, in the centre of which lies the dead dog with the garden fork still in situ. In addition, the whole stage is framed by what looks like graph paper in the dim lighting. But something else is apparent in the auditorium. Something that makes this production a real rarity – the wave of anticipation that you can feel in the audience.

The show has obviously been praised by audiences and critics alike over the years and it’s clear that this opening-night audience have high expectations for The Curious Incident… although this reviewer heard many of them admitting that they had no idea about what the story entailed. Further glances around the theatre confirmed that a near-capacity crowd had made it into The King’s and it should be noted that they remained both enthusiastic and enthralled throughout the full two-and-a-half-hours.

The production offers some unique theatrical moments – combining first class acting, wonderful special effects plus amazing sound and lighting design to create an remarkably enveloping production, driving you through a wide range of different emotions as we follow the life of Christopher’s Boone. The actor playing this part is one of Glasgow’s own – Joshua Jenkins, a former student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music – and offers a performance of stunning brilliance.

Jenkins is skilfully supported by a small but talented cast who, in keeping with the general feel of the show, often move seamlessly from one character to another at, in some cases literally, the flick of a switch.

The staging remains open throughout – with the performance area using lighting and projection effects to move the action from inside bedrooms to train stations to green parks in an instant, always holding the attention of the audience and ensuring that the pace of the play is in perfect synchronisation with how the character of Christopher is feeling.

But, at the end of the night, were the audience’s high expectations met?

Well, there was a standing ovation, applause continuing well after the cast had taken their final bow, and a sizeable amount of people turning to the person sitting next to them and uttering “That was brilliant!”…

Curiously brilliant, in fact.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

The King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tuesday 18 - Saturday 22 August 2015

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1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks, Mark. Lovely review. Sounds like a great production.
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