Review Round-up: Critics revisit Curious Incident
The West End transfer of the National Theatre's production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time opened at the Apollo Theatre this week (12 March 2013).Luke Treadaway returns to play 15-year old Christopher Boone, a maths genius with behavioural problems, as part of a cast that also includes Holly Aird, Sean Gleeson and Niamh Cusack.Directed by Marianne Elliot, it's currently booking until 31 August. Michael CoveneyWhatsonstage.com ★★★★...Luke Treadaway's autistic mathematical genius Christopher Boone has become Hamlet, alienated in a harsh world he views with a piercing and unforgiving clarity... Boone's Elsinore is Bunny Christie's black graph paper design illuminated with deft wit and beauty by Paule Constable's lighting. Treadaway and the nine supporting actors - led by Niamh Cusack's sympathetic teacher... are drilled into a flexible, expressive ensemble by Frantic Assembly duo Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett... Treadaway is truly remarkable as Christopher, not least in the way he arrogantly turns tables on "ordinary" people and manages to convey the nature of his "disability" as a distinct advantage, just as Hamlet's soliloquies are clear evidence of special powers. And the staging of the book's appendix, in which he describes the two-minute proof to the A-level problem is just dazzling... Lyn GardnerGuardian★★★★Simon Stephens' clever adaptation of Mark Haddon's bestselling novel about a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome is like a cute dog that leaps up and wants to lick you all over. There's no point in resisting – and there's no need… The beauty of the evening is magnified by Bunny Christie's witty design... The novel gets you inside Christopher's head, but the stage version does more, giving Christopher's internal response to the world an external manifestation. That world is often a surreal and scary place, but oddly beautiful and bizarre, too… Leading a fine cast, Luke Treadaway is superb as Christopher, appealing and painful to watch, like the show itself.. Charles SpencerDaily Telegraph★★★★…The show manages to be theatrical while remaining entirely true to the spirit of the book… What makes the production even more special is Luke Treadaway's astonishing performance as the 15-year old Christopher. 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… The play is staged in a versatile black box with clever use of projections to create different locations and key images… There are a host of excellent and often comic supporting performances, with especially fine work from Sean Gleeson as the anguished father who loves his son but hurts him terribly, and Niamh Cusack as the kindly teacher. But it is Treadaway - raw and ultimately ecstatic - who makes the evening so extraordinary. Henry HitchingsEvening Standard ★★★★★This appealing and ingenious adaptation of Mark Haddon's cult novel is lit up by Luke Treadaway's vivid central performance… Treadaway was tremendous when the show premiered at the National Theatre in August, and he is now even better. Marianne Elliott's production, which then felt dazzlingly inventive, has been rejigged to fit a larger West End space with different sightlines. No longer staged in the round, it makes a freshly powerful impression. Simon Stephens has done an expert job of translating Haddon's writing into absorbing theatre… The complexities and peculiarities of his worldview are expressed through Bunny Christie's magical design… There's strong work from Seán Gleeson as Christopher's father, Holly Aird as his mother and Nick Sidi in half a dozen roles… Treadaway is thrillingly good: I don't think there's a better performance right now on the London stage. Dominic MaxwellThe Times★★★★...The staging gets faster, funnier and riskier to match, culminating in a second act that is a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle, a theatrical rush equal to anything on the London stage. The theatrical flourishes start accumulating sooner than that, though... Treadaway is exceptional. He neither overplays nor undersells the tics and oddities of this maths prodigy… Making full use of lights, video, an ambient soundtrack and a hi-tech set, Elliott creates a full-on theatrical analogue for Christopher's internal panic… Sean Gleeson and Holly Aird are irritable yet loving as the parents, Cusack reassures as the teacher, Siobhan, and the rest of the ten-strong cast swap roles and tones with ease. It turns out that there's no mystery at all to why this rich and dazzling play has moved to the West End.