(Laura Thompson’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 8/3.)
Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is one of those rare good books that has transcended the tight little world of 'literature’. But can it become a play? It is the first-person narrative of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old maths genius with 'behavioural
problems’ and a relentlessly singular view of reality. Surely such a novel, characterised by its highly remarkable sole viewpoint, is precisely the wrong material for the polyphonic world of the stage?
Not so. This adaptation by the acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens is intensely, innately theatrical; it is also funny and extremely moving. In the manner of the RSC’s legendary Nicholas Nickleby, it sets the constancy of the text – from which the actors quote – against the agile conjuring of the here-and-now. There is a framing device of sorts, wherein Christopher is encouraged by a teacher to turn his narrative into a school play; in a sense, therefore, he is directing the 'cast’. But this concept is not laboured, and indeed the entire production is characterised by a breathless fluidity that is
emotional rather than cerebral.