After reading Mark Haddon’s book many years ago, and in all honesty not really able to remember the story line, I was intrigued on Friday evening to see how the book could be presented in a play. How the audience would be able to understand Christopher’s autistic mind? Alongside portraying a range of themes, characters and an all important detective story; who killed Wellington?
Much to my surprise, the audience was transported into Christopher’s mind, using a mixture of lights, sound and physical theatre, it made me feel as though I understood Christopher’s way of thinking, his logic and his sense. It allowed us all to capture his desperation in discovering who killed Wellington; woven within his own unknown story of a disappearing mother. It was certainly very clever. In addition the characters appear self aware, firstly of the written book, then its evolution to the stage, adding a further dimension to the incorporated story; of the many twist and turns in Christopher’s life. All of this engaged the audience, placing us into a world previously unknown. While simultaneously allowing an autistic viewpoint to take centre stage, something rarely done.
What I found most impressive, however, was the stage; its use of lights to depict the different scenes and just how many secret cupboards and doors it could hold (even squeezing in a table). It made me reevaluate the use of the stage, it’s ability to incorporate props rather then simply depicting the scene. How in turn this is reflected back to the audience, not just with flickering lights but how it cleverly takes us from Swindon to London by train, then imitates a tube station with precise details.
Overall I came out of the theatre beaming, amazed by the clever telling of the book, the acting, the staging and most of all the story. Curious certainly educated me on autism, of stories unknown and most importantly who killed Wellington.
Currently on a UK tour; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time dates and venues can be found at http://www.curiousonstage.com.
P.s There’s also a brilliant solution to a little bit of algebra and Pythagorus at the very end, with thanks to Christopher’s maths skills.