The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Flying Elephant Company & Limelight Theatrics
Goodwood Theatre, 5-13 April 2024

Family. Honesty and trust. Braving the unknown.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a play by Simon Stephens based on the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon. The West End production of the play was a high-budget, high-tech spectacular award-winning show. Director Nick Fagan has done a brilliant job of making the heart of the story the focus of this production, using only ten actors, many of whom play multiple roles, with a spare stage, simple but clever lighting and large white boxes which become furniture, train seats, tables and many other things besides.

The sparse visuals allow the characters and their interactions to shine through, while the size of the theatre (just over 200 seats) allows the audience to pick up every nuance of the dialogue and gestures.

Often described as a detective story with fifteen-year-old Christopher – a young person with special needs – as the investigator, the play ranges through a wide range of interpersonal relationships and the issues faced by those who deal with Christopher’s behaviours. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, this production captures the essence of the story very well.

All the cast gave wonderful performances, with the strong teamwork clearly evident in the tightness of the action.

Michelle Nightingale was a warmly supportive teacher (Siobhan), delivering her lines with the clarity of a Greek chorus of one.

Brendan Cooney and Nicole Rutty were genuinely convincing as Christopher’s parents, Ed and Judy Boone.

Benji Riggs, as Christopher, gave an outstandingly believable performance of the young lad with autistic disorder.

Comments from the audience overheard on leaving the theatre:

“Brilliant casting!”

“Who needs all those special effects?”

“The characters were all so clear.”

“That was gripping.”

“Now I know what [name] goes through with her son. I had no idea. I feel so bad. We should be able to do something to help.”

Hear Emily Sutherland speaking to Benji Riggs on Kaleidoscope first broadcast 10 April 2024 on Listen On Demand

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