Curious incident of the dog in the night time: national tour (Oxford New theatre)

Some people may know this by now, I mostly review musicals, not plays. So I’m still trying to get to grips with how to do this.

Many people would describe Curious incident to be the nation’s favourite play. Certainly, it has received some very positive reviews as well as a number of awards both including the Olivier and Tony award for best play.

I am a big fan of the book written by Mark Haddon and I can now say the play has remained loyal to the book. The play is conducted in such a way that Christopher, the character, is hardly absent from the stage. This is very appropriate, as the story is basically how the world looks to him. Joshua Jenkins, who played Christopher, displayed the every trait I had associated with the character while reading the book. Of course, how he carries the character in the spoken dialogue is important, but one must also not forget the character he is portraying, so some of the silent moments are just as important. There are times as if “he is not doing much” on stage, but examining his facial expressions more closely (this is where it would be beneficial if you are close to the stage), there are some subtle but powerful display of emotions. I am very impressed by Joshua Jenkins’s performance and will be looking out for his performances.

Other than Joshua, I was also very impressed by Stuart Laing. Stuart played the role of Christopher’s father, Ed. The interaction of Christopher with his father is an important one and is one that carries the play from the beginning all the way to the end. The father and son relationship is both strong and delicate. Certainly, Stuart portrayed this extremely well.

I had expected the story and the acting would be good before I had even seen the show, but I have also heard fantastic things about the stage and the lighting. Both of these aspects exceeded my expectations. These were so cleverly done and simply very effective. There are few props moved on and off stage. The majority of materials brought on stage came from he stage walls, where parts can be detached and then re-inserted. Changes in sceneries are normally done by movement of stage sets, but in Curious incident, this was almost done exclusively by the lighting, displaying not only changes in locations but also the distress running through Christopher’s head.

This is a very enjoyable play, one can be hit with numerous emotions watching this. It is a phenomenal piece of work and I hope audience from other parts of UK would enjoy the work portrayed by the touring company as much as I did.

Score: 4/5

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