This Olivier Award winning production is getting a deserved revival in London before embarking on a UK tour.
Adapted with great style and sensitivity by Simon Stephens from Mak Haddon’s novel, it is truly wonderful to see this production back on the stage where it belongs.
The story follows that of Christopher Boone, who sets out on a journey to discover who killed his neighbour’s dog – only to find that there is a bigger mystery that needs to be solved. It is a completely immersive story that really fits into the space of the Troubadour Theatre well.
Directed to dazzling effect by Marianne Elliott, this is a complete sensory experience that allows the audience to really see the world through Christopher’s head and the every day challenges that he faces. With a staging that is simple but mesmerising, every emotion that Christopher experiences throughout is heightened and allows the audience to sympathise and understand why he feels the way he does. Paule Constable’s lighting design is powerful but at the same time understated, Finn Ross’s video design allows the audience to truly see how Christopher’s mind works and Ian Dickson’s sound design reveals just how terrifying the world is in Christopher’s eyes. The sequence in which Christopher has to navigate through a train station is particularly well choreographed and shows just how much of ensemble piece this play is.
But it is the way in which all of these elements are brought together that make this such a mesmerising and distinctive play to watch unfold. In particular the moments in which Christopher makes major discoveries that have a huge impact on are impressively staged – even if it is heartbreaking to watch at the same time.
Thanks to the adaptation of the story by Simon Stephens, nothing about the play feels clinical – which could have been the case given the simple staging – there is warmth, humour and poignancy in the script that makes you feel for all of the characters, which is translated perfectly by the performances of all the cast.
Leading the way as Christopher, Connor Curren completely immerses himself into the character to the point that you are forgetting you are watching a performance at all. The way in which he highlights and draws out Christopher’s reactions to the world and the events that take place is extraordinary and you can’t take your eyes off him for a minute. Elsewhere, Sophie Stone gives a raw and equally powerful performance as Judy – captured perfectly in one particular speech as she unveils her struggles as a mother, while Tom Peters as Ed delivers a strong and heartbreaking characterisation of a personality who feels the burden of his own and Christopher’s emotions. Rebecca Root as Siobhan is a soothing and reassuring presence and is a great support throughout the production.
This is certainly a show that is a real gift to watch from start to finish – its ability to break your heart but make you smile as well is done with great sensitivity that you can’t fail to be completely drawn into Christopher’s world. If you haven’t seen it yet but are planning to – you are in for a real treat.
By Emma Clarendon