Live theatre at its best on the big screenDaniel Dercksen
Daniel Dercksen: Just when you thought you’ve seen the ultimate in live theatre, along comes The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time.
The National Theatre in London’s ingenious realisation of Mark Haddon’s international best-selling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time, was adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott.
Fortunately you don’t have to travel to the West End to see this masterful production, but simply visit Cinema Nouveau, where a filmed live performance of the play will be screened exclusively on October 13, 14, 17 and 18 only.
There is theatre we watch, and theatre we experience. The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time is a play we fully immerse ourselves into, heart and soul.
From its startling opening, featuring 15-year-old Christopher, an autistic boy who is found standing beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog that has been speared with a garden fork, to its miraculous conclusion, this is what the art of adaptation, and theatre craft are all about.
Staged in theatre-in-the-round, with splendid stage design by Bunny Christie, the performance area reveals a giant mathematical square that visually brings the world as experienced by an autistic child to life.
Without any sets and only imaginative design, exceptional direction and out of this world performances, the play totally overwhelms the senses.
The playmakers skilfully place the audience in Christopher’s shoes; we experience his emotions, angst and bewilderment as he tries to unravel the mystery of the dead dog.
There is so much intricate detail that it fully deserves a second, and even third viewing that will properly do it the justice it rightfully deserves.
Elliott’s insightful and masterful direction is well supported by movement directors Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, and fight director Kate Waters.
This unique team turns the play into an explosion of performance and movement, perfectly unified through the stunning imagery by video designer Finn Ross, and lighting design by Paule Constable. The visual impact of the production is further amplified by provocative sound design by Ian Dickinson and evocative music by Adrian Sutton that underscore the emotional journey.
Luke Treadaway is superb in the demanding role of Christopher; his meticulous and skilful performance is captivating, well supported by a talented ensemble who plays various characters in Christopher’s life, as well as strangers he comes in contact with during his journey.
What makes the play unique is that it allows us to take a closer look at who we are and examine our relationship with the people who enter our lives; it explores the fragile dynamics of people who are physically or mentally challenged and shows how easy it is to be compassionate and embrace the differences that divide.
The benefit of watching the play in HD cinema, is that it is filmed from above, as well as from the sides, giving us a definitive live theatre experience on the big screen.
There’s also the added bonus of a short documentary that precedes the screening that gives insight into the creation, adaptation, conception and rehearsals, featuring interviews with the storytellers and storymakers.
Note: See this remarkable play without knowing too much about the story and when Christopher receives an unexpected gift, you will be crying with joy.
It is strongly advised that you book seats for the first screening as you will most definitely want to experience it again. There are only 4 screenings and it will be your only chance to see this production as it will not be available on DVD.
It is screened on October 13, 17 and 18 at 7.30pm and at 2.30 on October 14. The running time is approximately 3hours which includes an intermission of 20 minutes.
Freelance Film Journalist
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Ster Kinekor Cinemas / Cinema Nouveau, South Africa