The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has just opened at Troubadour Wembley Park, and I urge you to see it. It’s an incredibly heartwarming story with a talented cast, wonderful script and impressive set.
Based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon and adapted for stage by Simon Stephens (Sea Wall, Harper Regan, Birdland), the production was first brought to life on stage at the National Theatre in 2012 and enjoyed a lengthy run in the West End from 2013-2019.
Now it has found a new home at the newly renovated Troubadour Wembley Park, directed by Marianne Elliott. It’s new setting is particularly relevant as part of the story takes place in Willesden. Mentions of familiar tube stops and postcodes were met with murmurs of delight from the Wembley audience. Brightly lit banners line the passage down Olympic Way to the theatre, welcoming this much-loved show back to the stage.
Connor Curren (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) is stunning as the protagonist Christopher, a fifteen year old boy with autism. Simon Stephens writes, “Christopher Boone[…] finds people difficult. So difficult in fact that he has never left his street unaccompanied.” At the start of the play, Christopher finds his neighbour’s dog killed, with a garden fork stuck into its body. A Sherlock Holmes and detective fanatic, Christopher sets about trying to solve the mystery. The story takes him on a journey outside of his life in Swindon and unravels unexpected truths about his family.
The set is impressive, and incredibly interactive. A grid lights up the floor and the walls of the stage like a box, revealing hidden doors and shelves. Projections are displayed and move across the stage. Now ten years into it’s life, this productions has mastered its aesthetic. In one particularly beautiful moment, Christopher builds a toy train set which then comes to life on stage.
The ensemble bring a lively and supportive presence, usually remaining onstage throughout the production. They play the adults in Christopher’s life, who try to help him and offer love, sometimes struggling, but always trying. These include his father Ed (Tom Peters), mother Judy (Sophie Stone), neighbour (Joanne Henry) and his wonderful teacher Siobhan (Rebecca Root). The ensemble work together as a cohesive whole and the movement, directed by Frantic Assembly, is pitch perfect.
It’s clear that everyone involved in this show cares about this play. It’s a show full of heart, warmth, and emotion. It tackles heavy themes, including neurodiversity, family violence and mental health. It’s a coming of age story about a boy who struggles to fit in, but who pushes back at the world and believes he can do anything.
Simon Stephens writes, “it is a book about bravery. It is bravery in stories that makes people cry, not sadness. When we read or watch other people being brave we recognise a desire and capacity for bravery in ourselves[…]
“As the UK starts to emerge and reimagine itself after the pandemic, so too does Curious. Access All Areas and other consultants from neurodiverse and autistic communities have worked with us to reawaken the production, to energise it and bring it out of hibernation. I can’t wait to see how the next ten years plays out.”
This show is suitable for ages 11+, and is a wonderful show for families and young people, as well as for all ages. It’s only running until 9 January 2022, so be quick to get your tickets below.