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Book fans live in fear when they hear that their favourite book is going to be turned into a movie or a play. Too many good books have been butchered in an attempt to make them more appealing for the screen or stage. More often than not they lose their spunk. The once-loved narrative becomes a clichéd fairytale. I feared all of this for my beloved Mark Haddon novel. Here is my review.

As a young teenager, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time was my favourite book; I spent hours delving into the complex mind of Christopher Boone. His inability to understand the adult world resonated with my own adolescent self. When I heard that one of my favourite books was being turned into a play, like any book fan, I was both apprehensive and excited. I wanted to know the answer to the ultimate question: would the play live up to the book?

Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenber
Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenber

Yesterday I went off to the Mayflower theatre, loaded with mixed expectations. As I entered the beautiful old building, the set was already visible, this was the first time I had seen this there. Usually there is a grand curtain call and the audience are first introduced to the set at the start of the play.

The seemingly simple set consisted of a dead dog with a garden fork through its stomach in the middle of the stage. Although I thought this was odd, it made for great conversation as I waited for the play to begin. Whilst nattering with my friend and waiting for the traditional: “The play will start in five minutes” over the speaker, there was a loud sound and the play began. Almost as if we had stumbled into a parallel universe, this world was a world I knew – the world of Christopher Boone.

Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenber
Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenber

I shall not spoil the narrative of the story, but the play is based around Christopher Boone, who is fifteen years, three months and four-days-old and suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. It is because of this Christopher finds people very hard to understand.

The actor, Joshua Jenkins, portrayed this magnificently. His performance was so believable that as an audience member, I forgot this was a play. For the two-hour duration, for all intents and purposes, he was Christopher and I was just a bystander in the story of his life.

Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenberg
Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenberg

The play contrasts humour with the serious issues of disability. This works brilliantly, as the audience is thrown from fits of laughter to perils of silence. The theatre at last night’s performance was full of eyes transfixed on the stage.

As the play ended, the audience rose to their feet, there was a standing ovation to applaud the actors’ brilliant performances. The play was finished and as an audience member I was more than satisfied as I began to leave the auditorium, but in the true nature of the book and the play, Boone had the last laugh, with his infectious love for mathematics and informing others.

(Monday 22 June – Saturday 4 July 2015) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office.
Tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk.
Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833

 

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