The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time arrives in Scotland
Simon Stephens’ award-winning adaptation is realised with dynamic staging
This article is from 2015.
Although the author Mark Haddon regarded his novel as ‘unstageable’, Simon Stephens’ adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has won seven Olivier Awards, including best new play, and opened on Broadway last year. As an example of how the National Theatre in England is capable of making populist and intelligent theatre, The Curious Incident places dynamic staging at the service of Stephens' script.
For Stephens, however, the story itself accounts for its popularity. 'It’s a story about family ... about what it’s like to raise a child or be raised,' he says. 'I think it’s a celebration of the capacity for bravery in the most unlikely of environments. Stories of bravery resonate. Stories of families resonate.'
Director Marianne Elliot, who admits to having been a fan of the novel, brought in physical theatre specialists Frantic Assembly. ‘They filled out all the dots and made it beautiful basically,' she notes.
Telling the story of a young man with a disorder on the autistic spectrum, Elliot's direction captures the disorientating energy of the book, with the conflicting levels of narrative – the hero tells his adventure in the style of a mystery thriller – used to ensure that the emotional intensity is expressed through a spectacular and entertaining production.