Theatre

Review: New cast triumphs in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Since it won a record seven Olivier Awards in 2013, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been wowing audiences in the West End.

Last week we returned to the Gielgud Theatre to witness the brand new cast in action, ready to take Curious Incident into a brand new era – and we were thoroughly impressed.

Taking on the lead role of Christopher is Joseph Ayre, making his West End debut – and he’s truly special. The role of Christopher is a challenging one. Not least because of the complex character he portrays but because of sheer physicality of the part as well.

Christopher is barely off the stage from the moment the show begins, he has more lines than anyone else and he goes through one helluva journey before the curtain call. He flits, skits and dances across the stage during some powerfully emotive sequences and carries the narrative of this impressive show squarely on his young shoulders. It’s a true testament to Ayre’s prowess as an actor that this production works so well.

Curious Incident is a dark and powerful story. Christopher Boone is a 15-year-old Asperger’s sufferer who discovers his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, has been murdered with a garden fork overnight. But while he’s investigating the mystery surrounding the dog’s death, Christopher ends up uncovering some home truths and long-buried secrets about his own life, throwing it into disarray.

Joseph Ayre as Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The play is wonderfully constructed, breaking the fourth wall throughout – and especially in the second act – where it becomes wonderfully self-referential. The use of lighting and video provides a punchy undertone, and the set design is like nothing else in the West End.

What’s truly great about this new cast is how fresh they are to their roles. Many of the newbies on stage play smaller roles, doubling up throughout the production as various neighbours, friends, commuters, policemen or strangers in Christopher’s story, but even in the darkest moments of the show, you can see how much they’re enjoying playing these roles – they are all truly wonderful creations and seeing them brought to life in new and colourful ways really breathes new life into the show.

Yet with the new cast, Curious Incident remains anchored by a handful of veteran performances, most notably Nicholas Tennant who remains in the role of Christopher’s father. It’s a tour de force role, which alongside Ayre as Christopher, their relationship becomes the beating heart of the show.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and be totally enthralled by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Don’t miss it.

Tickets for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time are available now. You can get yours at Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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