REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time @ Theatre Royal Newcastle

Posted on June 15th 2017 by Whats on Northeast

Words: Roisin Corbett for Cuckoo Review

My immediate reaction after seeing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was to marvel at just how good the acting of the performance was. As the play is focused on the story of Christopher Boone, a fifteen year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, Scott Reid was under a lot of pressure to fully bring that role to life. Given the nature of the play, he was almost single-handedly tasked with carrying the performance forward, which I would say he did admirably. However, the omnipresent figure of Reid was also bolstered by a fantastic supporting cast. Playing Siobhan, Christopher’s teacher, Lucianne McEvoy brought a warmth and calmness to her performance, which juxtaposed Christopher’s moments of sensory overload wonderfully. For me, a comedic highlight was also Mrs Gascoyne, Christopher’s head teacher. Her interjections were some of the funniest moments in the performance, without fail prompting genuine laughter from the audience. The high standard of acting demonstrated here created some heart-wrenching moments mixed with laugh-out-loud hilarity. During Christopher’s moments of panic, somehow, the cavernous Theatre Royal was made to feel claustrophobic; an impressive feat.

To this end, the set design was utilised to great effect. The lit panels across the walls and the stage helped to set the scene, without detracting from the action. This resulted in what looked like a relatively minimalist stage, helping to create the character-driven performance I alluded to earlier. One of the key aspects of this was, naturally, the depiction of Asperger’s syndrome. I was delighted to see that this had been both written and acted in a sensitive and appropriate manner. The performance’s depiction didn’t feel gimmicky; Christopher felt like a fully formed person as opposed to a series of tropes, which was refreshing to see.

Having read Mark Haddon’s book on which this performance was based, I felt that this was a very good adaptation. Sensibly, it picks up on all the key details without getting bogged down in the minutiae of the text, which would have added little to a staged adaptation. Fans of the book shouldn’t worry, the original text has been handled with care.

One of the most refreshing surprises for me was that the play was not afraid to break the fourth wall. My favourite moment actually took place after the cast had taken their final bows, so if you’re planning on seeing this play I would highly recommend that you wait a few minutes after the play has seemingly ‘ended’. I promise, it’s worth it!

On the whole, I thought that the performance was fantastic. I genuinely cannot think of a bad word to say about this play. I would highly, highly recommend going to see it, and I would be hard-pressed to think of another performance I have enjoyed as much.

This review originally appeared on Cuckoo Review, a site dedicated to developing the skills of young writers in partnership with venues across the North East. For more reviews from young writers, visit the Cuckoo Review website.

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