Does that mean I can do anything? – The Curoius Incident

Dear reader,

oh I am so sorry. Due to my busy work schedule I wasn’t able to write the English review on time. But here it is. So, do you remember how excited I was about Coriolanus? I think I said that I have never seen anything better and Tom Hiddleston showed a performance that is second to none. Uh, yes, I probably should stop thinking in the context of German theater. It’s not like we don’t have great drama in Germany. But the play I was able to see last week, although thematically and regarding stage design not comparable in any way to Josie Rourke’s Shakespeare adaptation, exceeded my expectations in any form. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a fireworks display of histrionic performance, interesting story, great choreography and a fancy stage set. Here the absolutely well-made trailer:

Luke Treadaway Foto: Manuel Harlan
Luke Treadaway
Foto: Manuel Harlan

Christopher, a 15-year-old autistic, kneels next to a dead dog killed by a pitchfork. Of course the shocked owner, Mrs. Shears, concludes the boy would be responsible for this tragedy. She calls the police. The basis for an entertaining evening of theater is created. Of course, Christopher was just at the wrong time, wrong place. And yet the story about the killed tog captures him. The boy thus sets out to carry out investigations. He wants to find out who actually murdered Wellington (the name of the unfortunate quadruped). He faced incomprehension and resistance, especially with his father. A man to which Christopher otherwise has a very good relationship. Since the autistic’s mother died two years ago (of a heart problem), the two men are on their own and make the best out of their situation. In the course of the play (whose plot I will not reveal further, since you have to watch it in any case), this relationship is shaken to its foundations, what Christopher persuaded to make himself all alone on the way to London. As far as possible away from home.

Christopher in der U-Bahn Foto: Manuel Harlan
Christopher in der U-Bahn
Foto: Manuel Harlan

A stunning journey begins, excitingly framed by the appealing choreography by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett. The hustle and bustle of London Underground stations they create, for example, by making the whole ensemble play (or dance) neatly lined up around the protagonists. They twist and turn to change direction and seem to strive all to their destinations. Christopher is thereby pushed left to right without being able to break out of this circle. In between he is lifted up. A plaything of the crowd. It was just great to see how much creativity and eye for details was put in this work. The stage design of price-winning Bunny Christie did the rest. A grid of LEDs on the stage floor and various projections created a technical, almost futuristic space. In between Christopher drew here and there something with chalk or built an electric railway. The mixture of very classic with very modern elements is absolutely first class.

Chaos at Peddington Station. Foto: Manuel Harlan
Chaos at Peddington Station.
Foto: Manuel Harlan

The acting was beyond anything I saw so far. Well, seems that I saw the wrong plays until now. Foremost was Luke Treadaway, who won an Olivier Award as Best Actor for his performance as the autistic Christopher. More than deserved! Mr. Treadaway has concerned himself a lot in advance of with autistic people. He visited different schools and met all kind of people. This preparation has paid off. He can be seen on the stage 2 1/2 hours in one term. Not once he falls out of character. Facial expressions, gestures, the way he moves his lips and  his gaze wanders and how he speaks. It is a treat! I believe that I have partially just amazed with his mouth wide open and eyes wide. Well, besides that the performance of the rest of the ensemble faded a little.  But you know,  that’s whining to high levels. As Una Stubbs, for example, is of course a master of her subject. Paul Ritter in the role of the father played a great part as well. And did I mention how great Luke Treadaway was? Just for the record: He was amazing! My God, I can’t believe that I never noticed that boy before.

Did I forget something? No, I do not think so. Every other sentence would only be a hymn of praise to the elements mentioned above. The production was absolutely first class. The play ended with the great question, „Does that mean I can do anything?“. After these 2 1/2 hours, the answer was clear (even if it was not formulated): Yes, Christopher!

Sincerely yours,
Auri der Theatergeist

8 Kommentare zu „Does that mean I can do anything? – The Curoius Incident

  1. Excellent review! I share you great admiration for this production. So lovely to think you can see it in Germany while I see it in the USA! Aren’t we lucky? We are eagerly awaiting the opening of Curious Incident on Broadway in New York City this autumn.

    I wrote this meditation, a letter to Christopher about how the play got me thinking about the power of human difference and of being invited into another’s world: http://bit.ly/1rlENk8 I would love your thoughts!

    1. Dear Lynne,

      thank you so much for your comment. I immediately headed over to read your letter and found myself lost in your words. Next thing for me to read will be your Lunch Time Story!

      1. Thank you! My Lunchtime Story is something quite different than the theatre reviews, but I would be so grateful to have your feedback. Reading with children is a favorite pastime of mine.

      2. Dear Lynne,

        I’m sorry it took me so long to answer. I read more about your Lunchtime Story and the project behind it. Next Tuesday I’m going to blog about „Reading with Children“ as I absolutely love this project.

        Later today I’m going to give some thoughts on some parts of your story and hope to read more about it in the future.

      3. Hi Auri — You’re so kind to read my piece. I look forward to reading your thoughts on Reading with Children. I was able to do so through the organization called Read to a Child in Boston, Massachusetts. My employer allowed us to take an hour each week to go to the local grammar school and do so. It was the highlight of my week.

  2. Hallo, danke for this review! I liked the play myself!
    It’s great you finally noticed „that boy“! 😉
    Just liked your review on my tribute site.

    1. Good Morning,

      thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the review. Just headed over to visit your blog and became follower. Luke is just amazing! Thank you for sharing all that information.

      Incredible I didn’t notice him earlier. I saw a few movies he was in and need to re-watch them now I know 😉

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