The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an Olivier Award and Tony Award winning play by Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon. The play has made it’s premiere in Australia thanks to a little help from the Melbourne Theatre Company and Arts Centre Melbourne.
The play follows Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old boy who has autism and has never ventured alone beyond the end of his street. Christopher detests being touched by others and distrusts strangers. But when a neighbour’s dog is killed with a garden fork, Christopher decides that he must break his boundaries to do some detective work to solve the mystery. During Christopher’s sleuthing, he unearths a secret that turns his world upside down.
I was moved to tears when I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and I thought that after reading the book, I would be able to expect everything and not cry when seeing the play. I was wrong. Not only is the acting superb and the story is incredible, but it is also an immersive experience. We see and hear everything from Christopher’s point of view, from the flashy overwhelming lights to the over powering white noise. While the story is very detailed, the play itself never actually feels overwhelming and flows naturally. No moment is ever dull with scenes often so mesmerising to the point that the play can be somewhat purposefully overstimulating. On a personal level, I can relate to the show as I have a brother who is autistic, and without giving things away, have had similar experiences with his actions and adventures.
I’m not sure if this is a Melbourne exclusive, or whether this will continue during the national tour, but if you’re lucky enough to have booked a marked prime number seat, solve the puzzle card attached to your seat and head over to the merch desk, you get to lucky dip for a prize. These prime number seats are selectively scattered throughout the theatre in both stalls and dress circle. The prize is various designs of smiley faces, just like the faces Christopher draws in the book and in the show. I thought that this was a neat little addition to the experience. Unfortunately, I was two seats away from a prime number my seat, but considering this show is completely sold out in my city, I was grateful just to be able to attend.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has currently sold out its entire leg in Melbourne (January 11 to February 25), but will return to Australia from June to do a national tour visiting Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. I loved the show so much that if it doesn’t have a return season in Melbourne, I may just pop by interstate to see it again. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is not only award winning, dramatic, eye-opening and moving, but it is by far one of the best plays that I have ever seen.