I went to see Curious Incident with my drama GCSE group. My friend had already thoroughly enjoyed it so I'd heard lots of good things which heightened my excitement as we drove to the theatre. It was the tour of the production so we watched it at Milton Keynes theatre and whilst I'd seen many plays and musicals before, I'd never seen a piece of theatre as physical and movement-orientated as this.
Curious Incident covers the story of Christopher Boone - a fifteen year-old boy who appears to suffer with the symptoms of autism (although this is never explicitly stated) - who discovers his neighbour's dog has been killed with a garden fork and, against all odds and several warnings not to, decides to investigate.
The set used was minimalistic to show how Christophers tries to strip his life of emotion. It was also black and white and very simple - many props were created by the actors through physical theatre therefore the stage was left empty of furniture to imply that Christopher feels alone and this leaves the stage open like a blank canvas. The lighting was also effective, using high intensity, red beams of light to demonstrate lasers whilst Christopher searched for his investigation notebook.
However, the sound really was the best element of the production as it made me feel as though I was inside Christopher's head e.g. in the very opening scene when the noises were extremely intense, loud and overpowering so all I wanted to do was cover my ears and groan - like Christopher. The costumes were used very well to help show the statuses of relationships between characters such as Roger wearing a yellow tie; Christopher hates yellow and this shows his dislike for Roger. These links through costume could have been improved by making these references clearer and more obvious although some may say the subtlety meant the references were felt more consciously by the audience and twisted their judgement better than if they were obvious.
The acting was also of a very high standard; Scott Reid (playing Christopher) was outstanding. His intonation portrayed his character almost perfectly with a todder-like high-pitched voice, using harsh tones to show his stress and anxiety at many things. I loved the "rain-scene" (go and see Curious Incident to find out more...) . It was incredibly powerful and very brave of the actors on stage to hold a silence for so long. The stillness of just Christopher and Ed (his father) standing there provided a contrast to the rest of the high-paced and intense play.
Whilst I felt that Emma Beattie (playing Judy, Christopher's mother) warmed to her role throughout the piece, her approach felt a little forced to me and very similar to how I think other actors would also have acted. Although this was only a small thing, bringing something slightly different would have lifted the production that tiny bit more for me.
I would definitely recommend this play, however not quite to the full extent that it was recommended to me because I ended up expecting a little more due to the praise showered upon it. It was a different kind of beautiful theatre and showed me that drama isn't just black and white and you can make so much more of a script than its words.
Finally, I learnt a lot by watching the play, not merely about acting and drama, but also about life with autism. It showed me the different perspectives of autism such as from Christopher's father (Ed) and his teacher (Siobhan). The play was incredibly moving, touching and wonderfully fresh. I will always remember the fabulous final words coming from Christopher's earnest and utterly tear-jerking mouth (SPOILER ALERT): 'And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? And I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.'