Theatre on the bay is celebrating it’s newly renovated splendour in style with a production that will be remembered long after the end of it’s run: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a stellar piece of entertainment on all counts-performances both lead and cameo, staging, direction and content.
Based on Mark Haddon’s intriguing novel of the same name, this two-act play traces the life-affirming ordeal of Christopher, and adolescent boy afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome, but endowed with terrifying brilliance in theoretical disciplines like mathematics and physics.
Not the sort of material one would imagine readily adaptable to the stage, but dramatist Simon Stephens has successfully translated all the vitality and inner drama of the youth’s experience with a sensitivity akin to genius, and the result is stunning theatre.
Tina Driedijk’s austere set evokes the uncompromising nature of mathematical abstraction , but at the same time fulfils all the purely physical requirements of the cast, who in their turn become the props of the action.
An outstanding instance of this is the sequence where Christopher abandons himself to the fantasy of astral adventure and is borne aloft in communion with the night sky which he finds so much more conducive to joy than interaction with his fellow humans.
Complementing this inspired staging is Gareth Hewitt Williams’s lighting design , key to the work’s theme, and choice soundscapes devised by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. The nightmare journey undertaken by Christopher to London is a visual and aural tour de force.
As a counterbalance to the potentially arid mathematical element of this play, there is also no lack of humour, the quietly sardonic variety that comes from politically incorrect or outrageous statements uttered in all sincerity by a naive young person, full of uncompromising honesty and logic.
Then there is the warm and fuzzy feeling generated by the presence on stage of animals, dead and alive….something for everyone.
To cap it all, there is a coda delivered by Brummer which is worthy in itself of recognition for sheer mental stamina-as if what has preceded were not enough to make this an unforgettable show.