⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review by Caroline Hanks-Farmer
Having previously won 7 Olivier’s and this year winning 5 Tony awards on Broadway the bar was set exceptionally high for this show! So my question was – were all the awards bestowed on this show justifiable?
Both The Mayflower and the National Theatre production did a great job to gain the city’s attention. Firstly by using social media to show the chalked dogs around the pavements of the City and then further by the “blue carpet” welcome which greeted the audience.
For those that don’t know the story – Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, and is exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
Joshua Jenkins takes the lead playing Christopher Boone and is completely and utterly spellbinding in the role. Whilst the book does not make reference to it Joshua’s acting has such depth and understanding of the characterisation of an Asperger Syndrome sufferer it is extremely evident that this is what the play not only eludes to but centres around. It gives an insight into the life and how it effects all. The illustration of not liking to be touched was consistent and electric. The journey which he embarked on was brilliantly acted and you really felt like you were accompanying him every step of the way.
Stuart Laing as Christopher’s father Ed gave an immensely strong performance. You could feel his heartbreak and day to day struggle to do the right thing by his son and all his intentions whilst misguided at times were heartfelt and sincere and this really came through.
The whole cast were equal and worked as a solid team. Geraldine Alexander as teacher Siobhan held the piece together with her supporting commentary of reading Christopher’s book. With Gina Isaac as mum Judy you could understand her anxiety and feeling of failure of dealing with her sons issues which again show great strength in her portrayal.
This play by Simon Stephens based on the novel by Mark Haddon is a visionary, innovative piece which on more than one occasion had the audience gasping at its imagination and creativity. The Lighting Designer Paule Constable and Video Designer Finn Ross have both excelled in this production. The movement is captivating and exceptional throughout and particularly in the walking on the walls scene, a great job by Movement Directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly. The stage is simple yet truly unique with minimal props and with the combination of superb lighting and sound creates a visual spectacle and a credit to Designer Bunny Christie. Direction by Marianne Elliott is excellant and attention to every detail is equisite.
Returning to my original question does the production warrant all the awards bestowed on it? Absolutely categorically Yes!
Performances until the 4th July with a relaxed performance on Thursday 2nd July at 2pm. This Relaxed Performance has been specifically designed to welcome people who will benefit from this performance environment, including people on the autism spectrum, sensory and communication difficulties, or a learning disability.
If you want to be completely bowled over by something that is so extraordinarily different and innovative then this is most definitely the show for you! So I implore you to get your tickets and visit the Mayflower before it leaves town as for me this type of production is the exact reason why I fell in love with the theatre.
Tickets for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Monday 22 June – Saturday 4 July 2015) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833