A National Theatre production of Mark Haddon’s remarkable novel about a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome is on at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.
Adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott, it’s an intelligent, dazzling, humorous, moving show.
We follow the story of Christopher Boone, as he tries to make sense of the world around him. Everything in the production, including a cube-like set, electronic music, video projections, and distorted sound effects are geared to give us a sense of what it is like to have Christopher’s form of autism. He finds everyday communication with other people torturously problematic, but as we see things from his point of view, we are drawn into his dilemmas – to such an extent that Christopher becomes a universal figure, and the play a metaphor for the struggles everyone has when they are growing up and trying to establish their independence. Hence the wide appeal of the show.
Scott Reid’s performance as Christopher is deeply empathetic, highlighting Christopher’s talents as well as his difficulties. He is supported by a strong cast, including Lucianne McEvoy as an inspirational teacher, and David Michaels and Emma Beattie as Christopher’s estranged but equally anguished parents. There are many memorable moments and episodes. Among these is an astonishing recreation of Christopher’s experience when he encounters the chaos of the London Underground. His courage is truly heroic.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night is on until Saturday, May 20