Adapted by Simon Stephens from the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon, Curious Incident tells the story of a young 15-year-old boy named Christopher. Christopher suffers from Aspergers, however the show is not focused on his condition, but on the different way he sees and interprets the world. One evening he discovers his next door neighbour’s dog dead in the garden. He then embarks on a journey to find the dogs killer and unravels many other secrets about his life.
The set is expressive, the floor and walls are covered in a grid pattern and the impressive use of lights and projection display the thoughts inside of Christopher’s head. The whole play revolves around inside of Christopher’s mind, the stage is very mathematical and the story reflects that. The ensemble sit around the stage throughout the piece, interjecting dialogue every so often. They create a collection of recognisable characters that get re-introduced into the scenes throughout the play.
The storytelling throughout the show is quite unique, told through the words of Christopher’s book, the show is narrated by Siobhan the teacher who is reading the book aloud. She progresses through the sequences of events in which Christopher’s story takes place, with the regular input of Christopher displaying his thoughts and feelings. Played by Lucianna McEvoy, Siobhan supports Christopher, and she plays a significant role that allows the audience to delve deeper into Christopher’s mind. Christopher is logical, direct and truthful which brings a lot of humour to the show – as he always says exactly what he is feeling.
The movement is visually dynamic, choreographed by Frantic Assembly, it heightens the physicality of the play. The stylised movement is complex, it shifts from chaotic to serene, reflecting Christopher’s dispersed thoughts. The sharp electric movements echo the pulsating music which are strong, gripping, and successfully develop the story further.
The ensemble are slick, as they all move simultaneously to create an imaginative portrayal of different scenes such as a tube, the busy streets of London and the train station itself. The choreography perfectly depicts Christopher’s view on the world and how it moves around him, allowing the audience to gain a deeper understanding into his head.
Scott Reid provides an exceptional performance as Christopher Boone. His extensive research into the role is clear as his portrayal of the character is highly convincing. His performance is compelling as he struggles with adolescence, dealing with a broken family and the emotional conflict between his mother and father.
The play begins when Christopher’s mother isn’t in his life anymore, and this puts a strain on Christopher and Ed’s relationship. David Michaels‘ performance as Ed is powerful, as he grasps the balance between his intense frustration and great sympathy for Christopher.
Curious Incident is a contemporary play that is profoundly thought-provoking, entirely consuming and utterly remarkable. Telling the story of a young boy who is struggling with the world, his ability to aim high not take no for an answer, is inspiring for us all.
Curious Incident is on at the Lowry until the 4th of February and tickets can be found here.