Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever). Follow @bffs613 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time takes the popular 2003 Mark Haddon novel and brings it to the stage. The story is told from the perspective of 15-year-old Christopher, opening on the night he found his neighbour’s dog murdered with a pitch fork. Determined to do some detective work and solve who was responsible, Christopher pushes himself out of his comfort zone and discovers a web of lies and other mysteries to be solved.
The staging of the show is meant to bring you inside Christopher’s head and truly understand how things click for him. Having both seen a live screening of the London production, we knew that, although the set was simple, it was also very technical and quite complex. Taking you from Christopher’s neighbourhood in Swindon, to his classroom, to his bedroom and across London, all within the grid of Christopher’s mind. This is where Kanata Theatre really surprised us because we weren’t expecting a local production to be able to provide the same level of staging as a professional production—but they more than met the challenge.
We weren’t expecting a local production to be able to provide the same level of staging as a professional production—but they more than met the challenge.
The staging is a key part of Christopher’s story, as Christopher thinks with no emotion—only in logic and numbers. Metaphors confuse him, as having an apple in your eye has nothing to do with feeling affection to someone. He likes computers and technology and makes connections through logical steps and patterns. The stage is turned into a giant square grid where Christopher can map things out in his mind. The floor is his chalkboard, or game of Tetris, and the walls and floor move in and out to become an escalator, the laundry room or a tube station platform.
The show also uses very little props and in fact uses people instead, whether they come together to represent waves, a door, an ATM machine or a coat hook, they further reinforce the technical movements inside Christopher’s mind.
The show is quite demanding on the actors as it has a range of quite complex characters, being led by Christopher who is brought to life beautifully by Simon Lindsay-Stodart. Another standout performance was that of Christopher’s teacher Siobhan, played by Shirley Manh, who works with Christopher to provide him with tools to understand and navigate through some of the things he can’t control in everyday life.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an exciting show that breaks down some of the standard ways of storytelling and theatre. It shares stories we may not have heard before. It is a new, fun and enticing way to see theatre in a way you haven’t seen it before, and in a way you may never quite see it again.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time plays at the Kanata Theatre until February 15th. Tickets $23 for general admission or $17 for subscribers. The show runs approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including intermission.