REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Sunderland Empire, until August 15

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Having read Mark Haddon’s award winning novel some years ago, I was curious myself how it would carry to the stage - but the answer was perfectly.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the story of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy with Asperger Syndrome, on his quest to uncover who killed the neighbour’s dog, Wellington.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Like a dog with a bone, the teenager, keeps digging and unearths a host of other secrets and problems.

Don’t worry if you haven’t read the book, the stage show at the Empire will still be something you won’t forget for a long time.

Thought-provoking and gritty, the play gives an insight into what life is like for someone with Asperger’s, trying to make sense of the human race.

Set in a dazzling and unusual interactive cube, sounds and sights are amplified, often giving the impression of what it must be like in Christopher’s complex, hugely intelligent mind, and how the world can be a frightening place.

But, its not all heavy going, the National Theatre play, has been wonderfully adapted by Simon Stephens to intersperse some humour into the serious subject matter of the play.

In fact the whole evening is a roller coaster ride of emotions for the audience as well as the characters. One minute I found myself on the verge of tears and the other laughing at young Christopher’s exploits.

Like any great play, the storyline is only as good as its actors - and in this case they are outstanding.

Joshua Jenkins is amazing in the role of the troubled teenager, brilliantly bringing to life a character who finds human companionship so overwhelming, yet making him endearing to the audience.

He is on stage throughout and keeping up such a high level of intensity is no mean feat, I can only imagine he is physically and emotionally drained after each show.

Credit also needs to go to Stuart Laing, who wonderfully takes on the role of Christopher’s dad, Ed. The connection between the two actors is clear to see as Ed struggles to enter into the world of his son, while fighting to get the very best for the boy he loves so much.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is by no means light-hearted entertainment, but a powerful piece of drama not to be missed.