WHETHER or not you were meeting 15-year-old maths whizzkid Christopher Boone, his autism-spectrum viewpoint and blissfully unconscious tactlessness for the first time, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the South Holland Centre was a staggering success.
We were enjoying a one-off live screening from the National Theatre’s sell-out run as one of a continuing series bought in by the South Holland Centre (watch their programme for the next, and get booking), and this was the best yet.
The new play, adapted by Simon Stephens, completes Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel which is narrated throughout by Christopher, because we are able to see his parents (Paul Ritter and Nicola Walker), tragically estranged by the strain of caring for him, their neighbours and his teacher, through our own eyes as well as his.
It enables the audience to empathise with the boy himself who doesn’t do empathy, brilliantly played by Luke Treadaway, by getting the one person who objectively understands how his mind works, his teacher (Niamh Cusack) to read his first-person account as a counterpoint to the rest of the action.
This production’s excitingly innovative staging and brilliant ensemble acting only emphasise the emotional truth at its heart.