Previewed 24 July 2012, Opened 2 August 2012, Closed 27 October 2012 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre
Previewed 1 March 2013, Opened 12 March 2013, Closed 19 December 2013 at the Apollo Theatre
Previewed 24 June 2014, Opened 8 July 2014, Closed 3 June 2017 at the Gielgud Theatre
Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in London, adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens.
Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs Shears' dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
This production is directed by Marianne Elliott with movement by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, designs by Bunny Christie, lighting by Paule Constable, video designs by Finn Ross, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Ian Dickinson. This production was originally presented at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre from July to October 2012 before it transferred to the West End's Apollo Theatre from March to December 2013. Please Note: This production is suitable for ages 13 years plus.
When the production transferred to the Apollo Theatre in London's West End where the staging was reconfigured for a traditional proscenium-style theatre Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph noted how "Marianne Elliott's beautiful, ingenious and deeply felt production has now transferred triumphantly to the West End. The show manages to be theatrical while remaining entirely true to the spirit of the book." In the Times Dominic Maxwell described how "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... there's no mystery at all to why this rich and dazzling play has moved to the West End." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented that "moving it into the proscenium-arch space of the Apollo has entailed a rethink: what had been the central playing area now becomes a cube onstage, with back and side walls as well as floor covered with a graph-paper design. This works in the show's favour, reducing the impression of faux-intimacy and introducing a physical distance from Christopher to match the emotional one." Over in the Independent Paul Taylor highlighted that "Simon Stephens's imaginative adaptation and Marianne Elliott's brilliant production find solutions that actually manage to throw fresh and arresting light on the material while keeping a perfect equipoise between the comedy and the heartache." Lyn Gardner in the Guardian explained that the stage play ia "a hugely entertaining meditation on the nature of truth and how we present ourselves to each other" and Julie Carpenter in the Daily Express said that it was a "fitting homage to Haddon's much-loved novel." In the London Evening Standard Henry Hitchings wrote: "This appealing and ingenious adaptation of Mark Haddon's cult novel... 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... a beautiful, eloquent show about the wonders of a life that initially seems hopelessly constrained." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail held that, "for all the tricks and ingenious representations of lines and sums and basic face drawings - with which people on the autistic spectrum try to learn about emotions - the story is a very human one. It is about valiant, bemused, adorable Christopher and the sadness of his estranged parents as they struggle to keep him calm." In the London Metro Siobhan Murphy thought that "Finn Ross's inspired video projections and Paule Constable's light show offer a shock and awe approach to delving into Christopher's singular wonders and fears... But this is, nonetheless, a bittersweet story told with verve and passion."
When this production was originally seen at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in August 2012 when it was staged 'in-the-round' Michael Coveney in the Independent highlighted that "this is a profoundly moving play about adolescence, fractured families, mathematics, colours and lights." Michael Billington in the Guardian noted that the whole thing is "done with enormous flair... this is a highly skilful adaptation" and in the Times Libby Purves said that "putting a well-loved book on stage is risky, but here a remarkable play has been made from Mark Haddon's Whitbread Award-winner, rendering its wit and insight and even offering fresh insights... there is a simple, stunning design by Bunny Christie and unbelievable lighting by Paule Constable... brilliant, deep and funny." Alexander Gilmour in the Financial Times commented that "Marianne Elliott's direction is dynamic and stylish, if faintly congested. The show is mime-heavy, for instance: often it works but often it feels superfluous." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail thought that "the National is priming theatre-goers with an adaptation of the book that taps into the public's hunger for insights into the inscrutable minds of autistic people. The show teaches in a way that's intelligent, sensitive, touching and strikingly inventive." In the Daily Telegraph Laura Thompson wrote that: "This adaptation by the acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens is intensely, innately theatrical; it is also funny and extremely moving... the entire production is marked by a breathless fluidity that is emotional rather than cerebral." Michael Billington in the Guardian described how this production "was greeted with a great roar of approval. And, even though I found myself resisting occasional touches of self-conscious cuteness and sentimentality in Marianne Elliott's production, I readily acknowledge the whole thing is done with enormous flair... this is a highly skilful adaptation." Simon Edge in the Daily Express explained that "once actors depict Christopher's harassed parents or his neighbours Mr and Mrs Shears, we see the characters through our eyes not his," adding that "what the production loses by diluting Christopher's voice it makes up for when it shows the very real dilemmas for parents whose love for their disabled son is balanced by a terror of not coping." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard noted how, "true to the original novel, [Simon Stephens'] version drips with ideas, especially about the nature of objects and the importance in our world of mathematical sequences... director Marianne Elliott confidently evokes the alien landscape of Christopher's mind."
"Mark Haddon's triumph was to create a richly imaginative world for a boy with a literal imagination. Director Marianne Elliott's triumph is to create a visual and aural poetry that matches the original... The roof may have (literally) fallen in on the production last year but its transfer confirms that it is the best new play in town." The Sunday Express
"Simon Stephens's stage adaptation of Mark Haddon's brilliant novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time... has 16~year-old Christopher telling how he solves the mystery of the murdered dog from his own skewed perspective. Stephens cracks this potential narrative problem by making the story a play to be performed at the boy's special school... The triumph of Marianne Elliott's fabulously imaginative stagecraft... Random numbers and fiendish formulae are projected in a dizzying whirl on the walls of Bunny Christie's graph-paper set, reflecting the thought processes in Christopher's brain... But just as he has special needs, so he has special gifts. In other words, he's just like us, but in every way more extreme. Unmissably good theatre." The Mail on Sunday
"Mark Haddon's bestselling 2003 novel always seemed to me to be an all-but-unstageable story. But Marianne Elliott - who made such a success out of the equally unstageable War Horse - has now managed to pull off the same miracle with Simon Stephens's stage adaptation, which now makes a triumphant West End transfer. The designer Bunny Christie helps to make so many of the book's intangible themes become tangible. She affords the audience a glimpse into the remorseless logic and Narnia-like wonders of Christopher's brain, with the complex mathematical patterns and straight lines she forms out of the myriad lights that illuminate the three sides of the stage. It is raw, compelling, and often very painful, theatre." The Sunday Telegraph
"A play about maths and Asperger's doesn't sound like anyone's idea of a hit but this adaptation of Mark Haddon's bestseller applies genius to its study of a troubled teen. It charts 15-year-old Christopher's mission to discover who killed his neighbour's dog - revealing family tensions along the way. The script brims with heart and humour, the supporting cast are uniformly excellent." The Sunday Mirror
"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... 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... With the help of Simon Stephens's adroit adaptation, a terrific team found the way. And have done so, slightly differently, in the West End. Marianne Elliott's exhilarating production is less intimate than it was when performed in the round... Yet enlargement makes more forceful the sense of threats from an everyday life that clangs and jostles, swarms and jangles, spilling everywhere." The Observer
"Mark Haddon's much-loved 2003 novel provoked a controversy about whether Christopher has Asperger's, but all we need to know is that he is an uneasy fit in an equivocating world, then we can buckle up for a tour of his extraordinary mind. Marianne Elliott's delirious production takes us inside it with full-bodied imagination... Christopher sees the world as a puzzle, a mathematical problem, a mystery requiring Sherlock-style deduction. Bunny Christie designs a gridded blackboard floor on which he can chalk his diagrams and show his workings, framed by a forensic light-box surround. Elliott's production emerges with panache from above and below. She, too, sees the world from improbable angles. When Christopher ventures out of Swindon, an apparently simple rail journey provokes one coup after another. We share Christopher's disorientation, until he finally emits an awful groan from somewhere deep in his throat." The Sunday Times
Following a season at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre, from 24 July to 27 October 2012, this production transferred to the Apollo Theatre when it previewed from 1 March 2013, opened on 12 March 2013 and closed on 19 December 2013. Please Note: During the performance on the evening of Thursday 19 December 2013, part of the ceiling collapsed and fell into the audience, damaging part of the balcony. Around 90 people were injured, fortunately there were no fatalities and none of the injuries are life threatening. "This is a shocking and upsetting incident," a spokesperson for the Apollo Theatre said. "Our thoughts are with the audience and staff who were in the theatre and their families. We're very grateful to the emergency services for their tremendous work and to our staff who helped with the evacuation." The production returns to London's West End at the nearby Gielgud Theatre from June 2014.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 24 June 2014, opened on 8 July 2014 and closed on 3 June 2017.