At the Giueld Theatre in London’s West End on thursday the 15th of October, I went to see the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The play was adapted from Mark Haddon’s best selling novel about a boy with autism and how he see’s the world, by playwright Simon Stephens and directed by the award winning Marianne Elliott, the play has been labeled “Astonishing and unmissable” by the Sunday Express.
- Giueld Theatre, London WE
- 15th October
- Mark Haddon
- Simon Stephens
- Marianne Elliott
- "Astonishing and unmissable" - The Sunday Express
Sion Daniel Young played the role of the hyper aware character, Christopher Boone. Young’s interpretation of Haddon’s main character was aided by Marianne Elliott, who directed the performance with ease. The production was cleverly crafted to teach the audience what it might be like to be inside a young boys mind whom is living with a learning difficulty, adapting the play so it did not offend, only educate those who watched was very important and both Young and Elliott captured the story beautifully through strong characterisation and stage set up.
- Sion Daniel Young
- Marianne Elliott - Director
- Teach audience what its like within the mind of a person with a learning difficulty
- Strong characterisation + stage set up
The actors connected with the audience through interaction with them, including them within the performance, breaking the fourth wall and stepping out of the play to speak to them separately, this was displayed towards the end of the play when Christopher was in his maths exam and went to explain how he went about answering the question.
- Connect with audeience through interaction
- Breaking the 4th wall
- Christopher's maths exam
Young’s performance of Christopher highlighted the inward isolation and the desire for knowledge that Christopher has in Haddon’s original book. Capturing Christopher's fears, anxieties, misunderstandings and thirst for knowledge were produced through facial expressions, posture and gate - all done subtly and not over the top making Christopher's character feel so real from the audience's’ perspective.
- Highlighted inward isolation
- Desire for knowledge
- Fears, anxties, misunderstands
- Facial expressions, posture and gait
- Mostly naturalistic acting
Young’s volatilisation held the audience's attention as he used a very assertive tone throughout the piece that also held the curiosity vocals (joined with puzzled facial expressions) to grip the audience into falling for Christopher’s becular charm and humor.
- Vocalisation held audience's attention
- Assertive tone
- Puzzled facial expressions
- Vocally curious
- Becular charm + humor
Nicolas Tennant played the role of Ed Boone - Christopher’s father. Tenant multi roled as both Ed and part of the enesemblement throughout the performace, but played the role of Mr. Boone majorly throughout. Mr Boone and his son’s relationship in Haddon’s book is a powerful one that holds a great deal of importance to be Christopher and the reader. The adaption of Ed Boone’s character for the live production captured the strong bond and attachment that is obvious within the book. Tenant’s costume was identifiably ‘father’ like, while Christopher's was kept strongly to his character's likes and dislikes and preference to colours throughout.
- Nicolas Tennant played Ed Boone
- Multi roled as Ed/Enesemblement
- Powerful relationship in book - v important
- Production captured the strong bond
- Costume was father like
- Christopher's costume strong to his prefured colours
Tenant and Young’s relationship together as characters held a captivating hold on the audience, the relationship was identifiably loving shown through their character contrasts and similarities, an example of this was when Christopher was stood at the kitchen window gazing out watching the rain and Mr. Boone came and stood beside him and listened to him speak before also getting captivated by the rain. This showed Mr. Boone’s desire to try and understand his son at whatever cost it took, but his character also obviously struggled to cope with Christopher’s unusual ways, but the characters adapted together to deal with the living situation they were in.
- Captivating relationship between Tenant and Young
- Contrasts and similarties in characters
- Example: Christopher stood at the kitchen window talking about rain - Mr Boone watching with him trying to understand how his sons mind worked
- Dedicated to learn how to cope with Christopher's unsual ways
Young’s drooped shoulders and wide eyes drew the audience's attention to his withdrawnness at times, while his father took on and tried to desperately to excite and tend to Christopher’s needs, this was displayed with when Mr. Boone came home and discovered Christopher had been sick after reading his mother's letters. ‘Adults with Autism’ wrote “Sion Daniel Young provides a wonderfully insightful peek into the thought process of someone on the autistic spectrum”.
- Drooped shoulders, wide eyes - drew audience's attention
- Example: When Christopher had been sick after reading mother's letters
- Adults with Autism wrote: "Sion Daniel Young provides a wonderfully insightful peek into the thought process of someone on the autistic spectrum”.
It was clear to see that the audience connected with Mr Boone and Christopher Boone throughout the play, despite the emotional twists that went along with Tenant’s character.
- Aduience connected with Mr Boone and Christopher Boone
- Despite emotional twists with Tenant's character
Overall, the acting quality of the performance was graceful in movement and true to the original book, both Young and Tenant’s interaction with each other portrayed the strong bond within the structure of their characters father- son relationship, despite its dysfunctional qualities.
- Acting quality
- Graceful in movement
- True to oringinal book
- Young + Tenant's interaction showed strong bond
- Dysfunctional qualities
However, there were moments in which the acting being stilted and as if the actors had forgotten their words, or had gotten confused to who they were speaking to/what. An example of this, is when Mr. Boone and Christopher were stood at the front of the stage, gazing out the imaginary window with neither character speaking.
- Forgotten lines
- Acting became stilted
- Gotten confused to who they were speaking to/what
- Christopher + Mr. Boone stood gazing out the window - neither character speaking
However, the pause in which the two actors had when looking, was long, and the audience began to feel uncomfortable, and began questioning whether the actors were aware of the length of their pause as well as wondering whether or not they remembered their was an audience watching them. Another example of unsure questioning on the audience's behalf was when Christopher’s teacher began talking and communicating with the audience out of nowhere, even though it broke down the fourth wall, there was no definitive reasoning into why the actor did it.
- Audience feeling uncomfotable
- Pause too long
- Christopher's teacher breaking 4th wall without need to
- Weird and random - felt unnessisary
In comparative with Jane Eyre, Curious Incident’s electric performance technically was far greater than Jane Eyre’s technical department, however, the acting in Jane Eyre and Curious were both similar in being able to connect and grip the audience's attention within the play. Jane Eyre didn’t step out of the plays physicality and performance and speak to the audience watching.
- In comparative
- Jane Eyre directed by Sally Cookson
- Similar in conecting the audience
- JE did not break the fourth wall
Curious Incident identified and connected with its audience in a more real and personal fashion, with Sion Daniel Young being a stronger actor than the actress playing Jane Eyre, as he included the audience and drew them into his life and how he saw the world in a more modern day fashion.
- Curious indetified and connected
- Real + personal
- Young drew audience into his world
- JE actress much more distant
A great deal of curiosity is introduced on the audience's behalf when watching Curious Incident as it opens up a modern day “illness” that many suffer with while many do not understand what it exactly entitles, Curious opens up the minds of the audience and educates them in different perspectives and insights on different people's way of digesting the world around them. While Curious does this, Jane Eyre tells a tragic love story, that great deal of people can relate to without a large amount of worldly knowledge or creative input, Jane Eyre tells a story while Curious Incident introduces a whole new worldly perspective for it’s audience.
- Curious opens up modern day "illnesses" educating those who don't understand
- Curious tries to help make people understand
- JE tragic love story - relatale
- JE tells a story
- Curious introduces a new wordly perspective