Curiosity Killed the Cat or in this case the Neighbours Dog!
An incredibly heartwarming story with a talented cast, phenomenal script and impressive interactive set, it is no mystery why this production still continues to be a multi-award winning hit around the world 10 years later.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a bestselling novel that tells the story of Christopher Boone (played by David Breeds), a 15-year-old boy who, after the vicious killing of his neighbour’s dog, embarks on an adventure into the wider world as he sets out to solve a neighbour’s dog’s murder and despite insistence that he stay out of other people’s business, Christopher sets out to find the dog’s killer himself!
Christopher’s detective work reveals the secrets of his parents and neighbours. The delicacy of the story is how he is able to overcome any obstacle he faces with sensory overloads, he learns how to use his brilliant mind to not only solve the case, but deal with the harsher realities of the adult world. David plays the role of Christopher to perfection, putting his heart, soul, emotions and personal lived experience as some with neurodiversity into the character to really draw the audience in.
From the beginning of the play it is very evident that everyone involved in this show cares deeply about this production and its topics. It’s so full of heartwarming emotion while tackling awkward topics of neurodiversity, family violence and mental health. The majority of the cast members get chances to shine individually playing several different and colourful characters throughout the show. I have to give a shout out to Rebecca Root who narrates Christophers thoughts throughout the show, along with also playing his teacher Siobhan and his voice of reason.
The audience really gets a sense of the difficulties that conditions such as Christopher’s affect not only the person but their family and friends, and how these stresses can take a great toll on them, depicting just how hard it is for other people to understand autistic spectrum conditions. Tom Peters (Ed/Father) and Kate Kordel (Judy/Mother) really do give their roles their all, to show just how difficult it is to parent a neurodiverse child and how things are perceived and misunderstood in the outside world away from the safety, security and understanding of home.
A plain but innovative stage design creatively maps out Christopher’s thought processes, while moments of sensory overload are delivered emphatically with suitably overwhelming technical effects of light & sound. The set is impressive and interactive, grids light up the floor and walls of the stage like a box, revealing hidden doors and cupboards while projections are displayed and move across the stage.
One stand out moment for me is when Christopher builds a toy train set while dealing with information overload about his fathers secrets which then comes to life on stage just before the interval.
All in all an emotional, thought-provoking, well produced production that will give even the most neurodiversity informed information to process on their journey home.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time plays The Grand Opera House Belfast until Saturday 22nd January, tickets are available from www.goh.co.uk