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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Liza Dezfouli

Based on Mark Haddon’s bestselling novel, the latest film in the National Theatre Live program is absolutely not to be missed.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
As part of the National Theatre Live program, Sharmill Films brings another wonderful film of a play staged in London to Australian cinemas. If you’ve read Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you’ll be thrilled by this beautiful, innovative and intriguing adaptation by Simon Stephens, directed by Marianne Elliot of War Horse fame. The production soars in its joyful use of technology, the set and staging are astounding, and the acting is the best the world has to offer.

Like the book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tells the story of 15 year old Christopher Boone (Luke Treadaway), an Asperger’s sufferer trying to navigate his way through the nightmarish complexity of adult emotions and metaphorical language. Hitherto, he has been sheltered from the outside world. He finds, now, that he has been betrayed, albeit unintentionally, by his parents. Promises are broken. Christopher makes order of life in his own way, taking it upon himself to solve a local crime. Through his methodical detective work, he unearths secrets and finds himself challenged; his world blasted apart in ways he couldn’t have anticipated.

One of the most entrancing elements of this production is its choreography: moments of physical theatre are brought into play as apparently inanimate objects carry their own weight in a world where the normal filters of consciousness don’t work, and sensory experiences constantly threaten to overwhelm.

Such clever stagecraft, and delightful use of technology, beautifully evokes what the world feels like for Christopher. Elliott’s decision to present this play in the round further immerses the audience in the experience, helping them feel what Christopher feels, but the director also knows when to pull back and let a simple moment be. Watch out for the beautiful rendering of Christopher riding an escalator for the first time.

As well as Treadaway’s astonishing performance as the young lead, the production features powerhouse performances from Niamh Cusack as Christopher’s tutor, Siobhan; Paul Ritter (Friday Night Dinner) as his father, Ed Boone; and Una Stubbs (Sherlock) as Mrs Alexander, the meddlesome but helpful lady who lives down the road.

Don’t miss out on this production; it’s a triumph.

Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon
Adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens
Directed by Marianne Elliott

In limited national release October 6 – 7
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including interval)
Distributed by Sharmill Films

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Liza Dezfouli has been reviewing film, live performance, books and occasionally music for over a decade. She writes a blog under her own name and another, somewhat less-measured one called WhenMrWrongfeelsSoRight. She creates work for the stage herself every now and then and can occasionally be seen in shows or in short films. For more: www.lizadezfouli.com.