The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play)
|The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night|
|Written by||Simon Stephens (play)
Mark Haddon (novel)
|Characters||Christopher John Francis Boone (15-year old maths-genius detective);
Ed Boone (Father);
Judy Boone (Mother);
Siobhan (School mentor);
Roger & Eileen Shears (Neighbours);
Mrs Alexander (Neighbour);
Toby (Christopher's pet rat);
Wellington (Mrs Shears' dead dog)
|Date premiered||2 August 2012|
|Place premiered||Royal National Theatre|
|Subject||Autism spectrum, Family drama, Crime fiction|
|Setting||Swindon and London|
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. During its premiere run, the play tied the record for winning the most Olivier Awards (seven), including Best New Play at the 2013 ceremony (this record was surpassed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in 2017 with 9 wins).
The play premiered on 2 August 2012 in the Cottesloe Theatre at the Royal National Theatre in London before transferring to the Apollo Theatre in the West End on 12 March 2013. The production won 7 Olivier Awards in 2013 (including Best New Play), at the time equaling the record with Matilda the Musical in 2012, before both were surpassed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in 2017 with 9 awards. During a performance on 19 December 2013, the ceiling of the Apollo Theatre collapsed causing the production to close. It reopened on 9 July 2014 at the Gielgud Theatre. The play closed at the Gielgud on 3 June 2017.
The Broadway production debuted at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on 5 October 2014 and closed on 4 September 2016. It won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Play, the 2015 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play, and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play.
The story concerns a mystery surrounding the death of a neighbour's dog that is investigated by young Christopher Boone, who has an autism spectrum condition, and his relationships with his parents and school mentor. The play reworked the source material by changing its voice and presenting the story as a play-within-a-play. The play has received a generally warm reception, with most critics impressed by its ability to convey the point of view of the young protagonist and the compassion of his school mentor. Critics also generally spoke highly of the visual effects employed during the show.
- Christopher John Francis Boone: The 15-year-old protagonist.
- Mr. Ed Boone: Christopher's father, a boiler engineer.
- Mrs. Judy Boone: Christopher's mother.
- Siobhan: Christopher's para-professional and mentor at school.
- Mrs. Shears:, Christopher's Neighbor. The actor in this role also plays:
- Mrs. Gascoyne: The head of Christopher's school.
- Woman on Train
- Voice One
- Roger Shears: Mrs. Shear's ex-husband. The actor in this role also plays:
- Mr. Wise: one of Christopher's Neighbors.
- Duty Sergeant
- Man behind Counter
- Drunk One
- Voice Two
- A Policeman: The actor in this role also plays:
- Mr. Thompson: one of Christopher's Neighbors
- London Policeman
- Man with Socks
- Drunk Two
- Voice Three
- Reverend Peters: a priest and teacher at Christopher's school.
- Uncle Terry: Christopher's Uncle
- Station Policeman
- Station Guard
- Voice Four
- No. 37: One of Christopher's Neighbors. The actor in this role also plays
- Lady in Street
- Punk Girl
- Voice Five
- Mrs. Alexander: An old lady, one of Christopher's neighbors. The actor in this role also plays:
- Posh Woman
- Voice Six
The play involves a significant reworking of the source material. Rather than present the story in the first-person narrative as the original novel did, the play is presented as a reading of Boone's own writing, read aloud in segments by his teacher. The result is that the play is presented as a play-within-a-play.
The play, set in Swindon and London is about a 15-year-old amateur detective named Christopher John Francis Boone who is a mathematical genius. He appears to have an unspecified autism spectrum disorder that is variously described as either autism or Asperger's Syndrome, although the condition is never explicitly stated in the play. The titular curious incident is the mystery surrounding the death of a neighbour's dog, Wellington, found speared by a garden fork.
While searching for the murderer of the dog, he encounters resistance from many neighbours, but mostly from his father, Ed Boone. Christopher argues to himself that many rules are made to be broken, so he continues to search for an answer; he compares himself to Sherlock Holmes. When he discovers that his father killed the dog, Christopher fears for his own life and travels to London to find and live with his mother, who his father, after being left by her, had told Christopher she had died from a heart attack. He encounters many problems during the journey, but is welcomed by his mother. However, the road to his ambitions leads him back to Swindon, where he wants to pass an important mathematics tests. Everything seems to be an obstacle, but Christopher is eventually reunited with his father and this improves his own future.
In a short scene after the curtain call, Christopher reappears to brilliantly solve a mathematics problem posed earlier in the play.
|Theatre||Opening Date||Closing Date||Details|
|Royal National Theatre, London||2 August 2012||27 October 2012||Premiere|
|Apollo Theatre, West End||12 March 2013||19 December 2013||West End Premiere|
|Teatro de los Insurgentes, Mexico||24 October 2013||4 January 2015||International Premiere|
|Setagaya Public Theater, Tokyo||4 April 2014||20 April 2014||Japanese Premiere|
|Gielgud Theatre, West End||9 July 2014||3 June 2017||West End Re-Opening|
|Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Broadway||5 October 2014||4 September 2016||Broadway Premiere|
|Kwanglim Art Center BBCH Hall, Seoul||27 November 2015||31 January 2016||Korean Premiere|
|Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta||22 September 2016||12 November 2016||Canadian Premiere|
|Le Moderne Théâtre, Liège, Belgium||28 April 2017||13 May 2017||Belgian Premiere|
Adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott, the show premièred at the Royal National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre on 2 August 2012. The performance there were played in the round. The production starred Luke Treadaway as Christopher, Niamh Cusack as his inspirational teacher Siobhan, Nicola Walker as his mother Judy, Paul Ritter as his father Ed and Una Stubbs as Mrs. Alexander . The production, which ran until late October 2012, was broadcast live to cinemas worldwide on Thursday 6 September 2012 through the National Theatre Live programme. The show transferred to the West End's Apollo Theatre in March. Performances began on 1 March, with an official opening on 12 March. Seán Gleeson and Holly Aird joined the cast as Christopher's parents.
On 19 December 2013, during a performance, part of the Apollo Theatre's roof collapsed, injuring nearly 80 people. As a result, all further performances were cancelled and a new theatre was sought. The Apollo's balcony required extensive repairs. In February 2014, the producers staged 8 free lunchtime performances for audiences from 14 secondary schools at the Stratford Old Town Hall. The production finally re-opened at the nearby Gielgud Theatre, beginning previews on 24 June 2014, with its official opening night on 9 July.
The West End production closed on 3 June 2017, after playing over 1,600 performances.
The play opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on 5 October 2014, after beginning previews on 10 September. It is again produced by the Royal National Theatre and directed by Elliott. The original Broadway cast included Alex Sharp (in his first professional role ever) as Christopher, Enid Graham as his mother Judy, Ian Barford as his father Ed, and Francesca Faridany as Siobhan. The production is choreographed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett.
Before it opened on Broadway, it premiered in Mexico in 2013 with the name "El Curioso Incidente del Perro a Medianoche", thus becoming the first international production of the play. Luis Gerardo Méndez played the main character, alternating with Alfonso Dosal. The play ran in Mexico until 2015.
The third international production of the play played at the Kwanglim Art Center in Seoul, South Korea. Preview shows with the first-ever all Korean cast began on 27 November 2015, and ran until 31 January 2016.
The following tables show the casts of the principal original productions:
|Character||Royal National Theatre
Cottesloe Theatre, 2012
Teatro de los Insurgentes, 2013
Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 2014
|First UK National Tour
|First US National Tour
Kwanglim Art Center, 2015
|Apollo Theatre, 2013||Gielgud Theatre, 2014|
|Christopher||Luke Treadaway||Graham Butler||Luis Gerardo Méndez
|Yoon Na Mu
Jeon Sung Woo
|Siobhan||Niamh Cusack||Sarah Woodward||Cecilia Suárez
|Francesca Faridany||Geraldine Alexander||Maria Elena Ramirez||Bae Hae Seon
Kim Ji Hyun
|Ed||Paul Ritter||Seán Gleeson||Nicolas Tennant||Alejandro Camacho||Ian Barford||Stuart Laing||Gene Gillete||Kim Young Ho
Shim Hyung Tak
|Judy||Nicola Walker||Holly Aird||Emily Joyce||Rebecca Jones
|Enid Graham||Gina Isaac||Felicity Jones Latta||Kim Rosa
Yang So Min
Woman on Train
|Sophie Duval||Victoria Willing||Luz María Aguilar||Mercedes Herrero||Clare Perkins||Charlotte Maier||Han Se Ra|
Man behind Counter
|Nick Sidi||Daniel Casey||Moisés Arrizmendi||Richard Hollis||Lucas Hare||John Hemphill||Kim Dong Hyun
Hwang Sung Hyun
Man with Socks
|Matthew Barker||Paul Stocker||Ramón Cadaval
|Ben Horner||Edward Grace||Brian Robert Burns||Shin Chang Joo|
|Howard Ward||Tony Turner||Bernardo Benitez||David Manis||John McAndrew||Geoffrey Wade||Kim Jong Chul|
Lady in Street
|Rhiannon Harper-Rafferty||Vivienne Acheampong||Erika Stettner
|Jocelyn Bioh||Emmanuella Cole||Francesca Choy-Kee||Jo Han Na|
|Una Stubbs||Tilly Tremayne||Gay Soper||Lourdes Echavarría||Helen Carey||Roberta Kerr||Amelia White||Kang Jung Im|
* - denotes the actor performing at certain performances
Notable replacements at the Apollo included Rakie Ayola as Siobhan, Amanda Drew as Judy and Daniel Casey as Roger Shears. On 13 September 2015 several members of the original Broadway cast performed their last show and were replaced on 15 September with a new cast. For its debut, the Korean production double- or triple-cast almost all of the main characters' roles.
Awards and nominations
The nominations for the 2013 Laurence Olivier Awards, which recognise excellence in professional productions staged in London, were announced on 26 March 2013. The production secured the most nominations with eight, including Best New Play, Best Director (Elliott), Best Actor (Treadaway), Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and other categories including Best Set Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design and Best Choreographer. The production eventually won seven Olivier awards, thereby equalling Matilda the Musical's record win total in 2012. The play was also acclaimed with the Best New Play on 17 February 2013 at the Whatsonstage Awards.
West End production
|2013||Laurence Olivier Awards||Best New Play||Won|
|Best Director||Marianne Elliott||Won|
|Best Actor||Luke Treadaway||Won|
|Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Nicola Walker||Won|
|Best Sound Design||Ian Dickinson and Adrian Sutton||Won|
|Best Lighting Design||Paule Constable||Won|
|Best Set Design||Bunny Christie and Finn Ross||Won|
|Best Theatre Choreographer||Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett||Nominated|
|2015||Tony Award||Best Play||Won|
|Best Direction of a Play||Marianne Elliott||Won|
|Best Actor in a Play||Alex Sharp||Won|
|Best Lighting Design of a Play||Paule Constable||Won|
|Best Scenic Design of a Play||Bunny Christie and Finn Ross||Won|
|Best Choreography||Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Play||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Play||Alex Sharp||Won|
|Outstanding Director of a Play||Marianne Elliott||Won|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Paule Constable||Won|
|Outstanding Projection Design||Finn Ross||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Design in a Play||Ian Dickinson for Autograph||Won|
|Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play||Won|
|Distinguished Performance Award||Alexander Sharp||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding New Broadway Play||Won|
|Outstanding Director of a Play||Marianne Elliott||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||Bunny Christie||Won|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Paule Constable||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Play||Alex Sharp||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Francesca Faridany||Nominated|
Lyn Gardner of The Guardian wrote a rave review, commenting that "There are times when the show comes perilously close to sentimentality, but the clarity of Christopher's gaze is so unflinching that it often makes you uncomfortable, and the show is equally clear-eyed on the difficulties of parenting, messiness of life, and torment of a child who cannot bear to be touched. ... Leading a fine cast, Luke Treadaway is superb as Christopher, appealing and painful to watch, like the show itself."
Susannah Clapp, of The Observer, wrote in 2013, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was one of the most original shows and startling successes at the National last year. It's hard to recall the surprise of this... Yet it at first seemed unlikely that Mark Haddon's novel about a boy with a mathematical gift and 'behavioural problems' could possibly work in the theatre." Paul Taylor of The Independent described the work as an "imaginative adaptation" and "brilliant production" saying that it was presented in a "fresh and arresting light" while balancing humor and tragedy. Taylor judged Treadaway's performance superlative citing, among other things, his rhythm, movements and delivery. Matt Wolf of The New York Times added that the play's debut was well-timed in relation to the 2012 London Summer Olympics: "its triumphalist spirit tallies exactly with the mood of this summer's athletic aspirations".
Ben Brantley, the chief theatre critic of The New York Times, wrote: "As directed by Marianne Elliott, working with an inspired set of designers, Christopher's maiden voyage into an alien metropolis becomes a virtuoso study in sensory overload. Those lights, noises, street signs, road maps, random words that spell themselves into being, and, oh yes, that moving staircase that materializes out of nowhere: it all keeps coming at you". Brantley went on to say that the "extraordinary accomplishment" of the play "is that it forces you to look at the world through Christopher's order-seeking eyes. In doing so you're likely to reconsider the dauntless battle your own mind is always waging against the onslaught of stimuli that is life. Scary, isn't it? Exhilarating too." Brantley found fault, however, with "having Siobhan ... recite the story he has written, presented as a school project. Ms. Cusack does this with a gushy, artificial sense of wonder that you associate with grown-ups talking to small children ... Yuck."
Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph, on the other hand, thought that Siobhan's turning the book Christopher writes into a play "may sound cumbersome but it works superbly". Like others, Spencer praised Treadaway: "He is unbearably poignant in moments of distress when he kneels with his face on the ground and moans, but also movingly captures the character's courage, his brilliance at mathematics, and his startling perspectives on the world ... thanks to Treadaway's pained honesty and twitchy awkwardness, as well as his moments of exultant joy, Christopher Boone feels like both a hero and a friend, though the happy ending is rightly qualified." Spencer also praised Gleason and Cusack.
Richard Zoglin of Time described the play as "a demonstration of the power of theater to transport us to exotic places". Steven Suskin, drama critic for The Huffington Post, said the play entertains, illuminates, and brings us to an exalted new place. Adam Green of Vogue says the play is "a testament to the singular power of theater". Brantley, in his review of the New York production, called the work "manipulative", writing that it "retunes the way you see and hear" by forcing you to embrace a heightened sensory perception along with the main protagonist. Elysa Gardner of USA Today described the experience of viewing the play as a journey "inside Christopher's gifted, troubled mind using inventive visual and sonic effects". She lauded Sharp's "movement, expressions and voice making the boy's terrors and his ferocious intelligence seem equally natural".
Peter Marks of The Washington Post praised the visual graphics of the show as being better presented than the "textual and performance elements" noting that the working of Boone's brain upstaged the detective work of finding the killer. Jennifer Farrar of the Associated Press thought the show a "charming, intricately choreographed and dynamic theatrical experience" and that Alex Sharp's presentation of Christopher exemplifies the life skill of overcoming personal challenge. Deadline.com's Jeremy Gerard felt that the production combines the obsessed math prodigy element of A Beautiful Mind with the mentoring compassion of Billy Elliot. Joe Dziemianowicz of The Daily News found Sharp's performance "dazzling" and "physical and emotionally intense" and praised the design, lighting, music and video displays.
Terry Teachout, drama critic for The Wall Street Journal dissented, describing the "fantastically elaborate video projections" pejoratively, saying that they are smothering. He felt the show was popular because of the trendy nature of Asperger's syndrome and that it was too reliant on trickery. His Wall Street Journal colleague Stefanie Cohen thought the play suffered from difficulty in adapting the book to the stage.
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