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Curious Incident Review: Bristol Hippodrome

Curious Incident Review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Bristol Hippodrome

Tuesday 13th – Saturday 17 June 2017

This week The Bristol Hippodrome is welcoming back National Theatre’s multi award-winning production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I was absolutely blown away by the production when I saw it here almost two years ago and as soon as I heard it was returning, I bagged a couple of seats for the opening night on Tuesday.

CURIOUS INCIDENT STORY SYNOPSIS

Fifteen year old Christopher who detests being touched, distrusts strangers and has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, is under suspicion for the slaughter of Mrs Shears’ dog. He has a unique mindset which others refer to as Asperger’s Syndrome but Christopher himself describes as ‘behavioural problems’. He’s exceptional at maths, has an affinity for his pet rat, Toby, yet struggles to interpret other people. As he knows he wasn’t the one who killed the dog, he decides to apply his logic to investigate the mystery of who did murder Wellington.

CURIOUS INCIDENT REVIEW

The current production closely resembles the show I reviewed in 2015.

Right from the start our attention is grabbed by strobe lighting, a dog speared with a pitchfork and a hefty dose of foul language and blaspheming. Once again the set is a cell-like cube with squares resembling graph paper covering the walls. Plain white boxes are amongst the few physical props, which can represent anything from a chair to a TV with the help of a little lighting and our imagination.

This time though, it’s Scott Reid who makes socially inept Christopher his own, just as Joshua Jenkins did when he played the role. The way Christopher’s brain works means he’s confounded by metaphors and finds it impossible to lie or to understand anything but the most literal instructions. He’s confused by a policeman’s order, “Don’t move!”, as it only tells him what to do and not how long he should do it for.

As well as offering a fascinating insight into Christopher’s mind, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time also focuses on the challenges his parents face and the widespread fallout when they fail to cope. When Christopher’s father (David Michaels) lashes out and strikes his son in a moment of frustration, the blow is like a taser, sending a shiver right through me and making me question whether I’d be any better at keeping my cool if faced with those challenges – day after day after day.

Mrs Gascoyne, the head mistress, offers some light relief from the tension, cracking us up with pretty much everything that comes out of her mouth!

Alongside some brilliant acting, the lighting and sounds effects are stunning, offering a glimpse into how Christopher might see things. Orange lighting suggests London at night but then a bright green glow, accompanied by bird tweeting instantly transports us to a fine day on Hampstead Heath. As Christopher sketches on the floor, his chalk drawings are recreated in bold illuminations on the wall. Could this be how he visualises and solves maths problems so easily?

For a child who can’t bear to be touched and who worries about strangers, imagine how terrifying attempting a trip to London would be. The effects during this disorientating journey are superb.

 

CURIOUS INCIDENT AGE SUITABILITY

Loud noises, strobe lighting, lashings of strong language, so much shouting that the actors are hoarse and a boy whose father has to wipe vomit off him following a fit aren’t the usual elements for a nice family show but as long as they’re prepared to embrace all of that, older children from thirteen upwards could get a lot out of The Curious Incident . In fact, I wish my thirteen year old son had come with me this week and if the play returns to Bristol, I certainly plan to take him.

THE VERDICT

I love this shocking, beautiful, heart-breaking, thought-provoking play. As I said to my friend who told me she fancied going but wasn’t sure she could fit it in this week, if you’re even slightly tempted, go for it!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is the best play I’ve seen this year.

Highly, highly recommended.

*****

For more information or to book tickets to Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeclick here*. As usual, please do share your thoughts about the show or our review in the comments below.

*Many thanks if you book through the affiliate link above as it provides a small commission at no extra cost to you, which goes towards funding this blog.

BOOK TICKETS TO THE CURIOUS INCIDENT

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Bristol Hippodrome

Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 June

Evenings: Tue – Sat 7.30pm

Matinees: Wed, Thu & Sat 2.30pm

Tickets from £19.40

Concessions available at certain performances

Click here for a complete diary listing of shows at the Bristol Hippodrome

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Curious Incident Review

Click here to book tickets*.

Enjoyed our CURIOUS INCIDENT REVIEW? Then why not check out our most show reviews below on Practically Perfect Mums?

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DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED TICKETS FOR PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN.

*POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS WHICH PROVIDE A SMALL COMMISSION ON BOOKINGS AT NO EXTRA COST TO THE USER AND HELP FUND THIS BLOG.

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