Sunday, 2 September 2012

Theatrical Interlude 15

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre, August 2012

I've managed to get a little behind on reviewing after another busy fortnight, I 'owe' two theatre reviews, at least two book reviews and my thoughts on the Paralympics. In addition to this I am also trying to get my head around a new piece of technology that isn't intuitive when it comes to Blogging software. Bear with me and any dodgy formatting for a while please!

My crazy theatre going August continued with a trip to see the adaptation of Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This is a book I've read more than once and one that I read during my 2011 World Book Night Challenge  with that review in mind I am surprised I was so keen to see this play.

The play may just have dispelled all of my misgivings about the book, the staging and acting made it live in a way that the words on the page just hadn't for me.  The Cottesloe Theatre is a small theatre with seating in the round, and our seats were looking down on the stage. As the play started the theatre went totally dark, and with all black seating and walls I mean totally dark, then as the lights came up in the middle of the stage was a dead dog.

The play continued in such an innovative way all the way through with lots of moving of props by the actors - who were almost always on stage, just seated around the edge - to create new scenarios. Some of the scenes were created in almost a modern dance format as Christopher was bodily moved around the stage by the others to simulate, for instance, his wish to be an astronaut. The stage itself was a giant light board that at one point transformed into a realistic Underground platform, just stunning.

I am totally in awe of Luke Treadaway who portrays Christopher. This is almost a one man show and he carries it wonderfully, showing the wonderful mix of intelligence but also lack of understanding that is Christopher.  Paul Ritter, who plays the father, also deserves every accolade as he manages to create a very real dad, someone who cares deeply for his disabled child but also someone who is human and who snaps and can't cope at times.

I don't think I can find a thing wrong with this play, other reviews have said it was over long but that isn't something I found at all. It was possibly the most intense piece of theatre I have seen and as it is sold out at The National do try to catch it at one of the National Theatre Live events.

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