REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (The Lowry, Salford)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time© Brinkoff - Moegenburg
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time© Brinkoff – Moegenburg
guest reviewer: megan hyland
upstaged rating: 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is Simon Stephens’ charming adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel of the same name. The story of Christopher Boone is one that has touched many people over the years, telling of an intelligent and inquisitive 15-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome. The play begins with the murder of his neighbour’s dog, Wellington. Upset by Wellington’s death, Christopher vows to find the murderer, but on the way ends up uncovering more secrets than he set out to.

Scott Reid (Still Game, Line of Duty) stars as Christopher in his most challenging role yet, delivering an authentic and emotional performance. His incredible capability is undeniable in this stunning piece, bringing new life to the much-loved character. There are some particularly beautiful scenes in which Reid acts alongside the supporting cast in a series of physical theatre routines that show the audience what the world is like in the mind of somebody with Asperger’s Syndrome.  And despite the limited space of the stage, the cast are able to create a truthful and open world that explores family, mathematics, the universe and everything in between. David Michaels stars as Christopher’s father, Ed, giving a poignant and genuine performance that displays the struggles of a single parent. Supported by the delightful ensemble cast, this is a seamless production, with the cast working together to create an original and extraordinary piece.

Director Marianne Elliot has helped to create a heart-warming and moving production, with skilful use of a seemingly simplistic set. The music of Adrian Sutton and lighting design of Paule Constable also masters communication of both intensity and warmth, resulting in an exciting piece. But despite some sensitive and emotional scenes, Stephens’ dialogue is often incredibly humorous, breathing life into the well-known characters.

Despite having seen the play before, the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time still offered a new and sensational execution of the critically acclaimed novel. And as a widely loved story, it is recommendable to anyone that is looking for a production that is both intelligent and surprising.

-Megan Hyland

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is on at The Lowry, Salford until Saturday 4th February 2017 and you can get your tickets here. The production continues to tour throughout 2017 and you can click here for the full UK tour details.

REVIEW – (The Palace Theatre, Manchester)

Date: 2 July 2015
Upstaged Rating: is a brand new musical, directed by Rufus Norris,  that is being performed as part of the Manchester International Festival. Taking its inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice in Wonderland, the new musical tells the story of Aly, a young teen who battles with bullies at school and struggles to find happiness at home with her mother and baby brother ‘cabbage pants’ Charlie. Aly is unable to look to her father for support either, as although he loves her dearly, he is addicted to online gambling.

Aly finds her solace in, an immersive, technicolour online world where “you can be exactly who you want to be”, which in Aly’s case is a brave and beautiful avatar named Alice, a blue-eyed blond who looks like she has just stepped out of the looking glass.

Damon Albarn has created the weird and wonderful soundtrack for this musical – combining the familiar feel of signature Albarn with a wondrous dose of otherworldliness. Furthermore, the lyrics by Moira Buffini feel natural and unforced, full of wit – littered with references to the Lewis Carroll’s classic novel but still made relevant and accessible to a contemporary audience.

Rae Smith’s design is a highlight – capturing the grey and mundane urban grit of the city and the chaos and vibrancy of and aided by projections by 59 Productions and lighting by Paule Constable, the transition between the two worlds is remarkably smooth. As hard as Aly, charmingly played by Lois Chimimba, tries to keep the two worlds separate, the boundaries between real life and seem to ‘blur’ into one.

With mischievous and intricate costume design by Katrina Lindsay, the show is well cast with all members giving strong performances. Rosalie Craig as Alice has a wonderful singing voice and moves convincingly as an avatar; Golda Rosheuvel as single mother Bianca and Paul Hilton as online gambler Matt, also impress as parents at odds with each other. Anna Francolini gives an outstanding and highly comical performance as Ms Manxome, a vibrato singing, technophobe high school teacher who can’t abide ‘bad odours, weird artwork and phones’.

Just like Aly, sometimes when the real world gets all too mundane and we need to escape, we can all find our own on our smartphone screen, leading us down a rabbit hole into an extraordinary new world. is a brilliant, relevant and modern take on Lewis Carroll’s classic novel and an enveloping experience for your senses.

-Kristy Stott is at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until 19th July. Following its premiere in Manchester, it will visit the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre in November before travelling to the Théatre du Chatalet in Paris in 2016.