Christopher Boone (Kai Brummer) makes sense of the static of the outside world in Pieter Toerien’s production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog in The Night-Time. Picture: Jesse Kramer
Christopher Boone (Kai Brummer) makes sense of the static of the outside world in Pieter Toerien’s production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog in The Night-Time. Picture: Jesse Kramer

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. By Simon Stephens, based on the book by Mark Haddon. Directed by Paul Warwick Griffin, with Ashley Dowds, Kate Normington, Kai Brummer, Lesoko Seabe, Genna Galloway, Jenny Stead, Nicholas Ellenbogen, Liz Szymczak, Dylan Edy and Clayton Evertson. At Theatre on the Bay until until 3 November, and at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, 2 November to 7 December, 2018

MEGAN FURNISS reviews

As I dropped my date off, with the streetlights making a million stars on the windscreen of my car and us both getting used to the real world again, he turned and said, “I am so lucky.” He was right. We both were. We had seen and experienced a piece of theatre that was so beautiful and engaging it felt like we had been transported.

We had been to the opening night of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the newly renovated Theatre on the Bay (lovely new toilets, ladies) and we had been absolutely wowed by it. My date was left with a sense of wonder. I had been moved to tears. We had both been exposed to theatre magic.

Ashley Dowds as Ed Boone and Kai Brummer, as Christopher Boone. Picture: Jesse Kramer
Ashley Dowds as Ed Boone and Kai Brummer, as Christopher Boone. Picture: Jesse Kramer

Miraculously visual

I had read the book, but to be fair, I couldn’t remember much about it. I had also heard so much about the National Theatre production although I had never seen their movie version of it. But I did have high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed.

The script has managed to extract the essence of the book and bring it to life theatrically, which, considering it all happens inside the head of Christopher, a 15-year-old autistic boy, is enormously challenging. The play is both true to the book and miraculously visual, making it much more memorable and vivid.

The story of how Christopher’s life unravels while he tries to find out who killed his next door neighbour’s dog is heart-rending and extraordinary, especially since it is told through his voice; often given breath by Siobhan his teacher. It is a great device.

This cast is incredibly well chosen and absolutely beautifully directed. Kai Brummer as Christopher is masterful, but the whole cast who support him are exceptional, and must be looked at like that.

This is teamwork and ensemble in its truest sense, from the focus given by the performers to what is happening, to the management of each prop and bit of costume, as well as boxes of set; constantly moving to transform the space. If I were forced to pick favourites it would be Lesoko Seabe and Ashley Dowds and Liz Szymczak (who took my breath away as Mrs Alexander), but it is unfair of me to do that. Everybody is brilliant.

Paul Warwick Griffin has directed this piece with the best combination of director’s tools. His vision has been executed with generosity, confidence and tons of feeling. His work is given wings by the amazingly theatrical and agile set, lighting design by Gareth Hewitt Williams, original soundscapes by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, and the devotion of the cast.

I loved how the set transformed from straight white boxes to stairway to the stars. I loved the train station platform, the magical books, the tiny pink fridge. I loved the relationships, the pace, the surprise, the emotion. I loved the dog (and I was not alone in that). I did not notice the time, nor my tears that had fallen.

This is a beautiful play that has restored my faith in the magic of theatre.

Cape Town Theatre Guide: https://weekendspecial.co.za/stage-on-the-boards/

What: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time review
Where, when: Theatre on the Bay Cape Town, until 3 November 2018, Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, 2 November – 7 December, 2018
Theatre on the Bay tickets: Computicket
Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino tickets: Computicket
WS