June 20 2013 Latest news:
Monday, March 18, 2013
A play with maths as one of its central themes may not sound like a heart-wrencher but this adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time does a pretty good job of getting under your skin.
We are shown the world through the eyes of Christopher, a 15-year-old numbers prodigy with Asperger’s syndrome who cannot lie and has some difficult home truths to discover about his family life.
Christopher is hell-bent on solving a mystery – originally that of who killed the neighbour’s dog in a vicious night-time assault, but goes on to discover some far more personal and disturbing details that concern his parents and their relationship with each other and him.
The dilemma of bringing to life a story that hinges on the feelings and experiences of a young man who cannot relate to other people in the ways that most of us can is confronted head-on, and the result is a play that calls on us to use all our senses to understand Christopher and the way of the world through his prism.
The set is fantastic: a four-dimensional cube that illuminates with neon lights, chalk dustings and numbers as Christopher calls on his incredible grasp for mathematical reasoning to see him through the darker moments.
There are also choreographed moments of genius drawing on acrobatic-like skill from the actors.
In one that depicts Christopher’s love for astronomy, members of a background cast propel the teenager through the air without use of any other props.
While hoisted up and moved across the stage by three men and a woman, he appears light as a feather and as if he is gliding through space.
None of the magic could work without the exemplary performance that Luke Treadaway, who plays the lead, gives.
He does absolute justice to a very intense role, allowing us to understand and come to love Christopher through his very precise movements, intonations and sometimes hilarious thought patterns.
This play is not just about an autistic boy who cannot be touched and struggles to empathise.
It shines a light of all of us, our interactions, choices and constant efforts to identify with each other and the wider world.
It is funny, clever, touching and very, very well executed.
•The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue.