19 May 2017

Theatre

It's Friday but I mustn't let Monday go. Gotta nail it before the memory dissolves and other things take over like the impeachment of Donald Trump and Theresa May's vicarage sex scandal..

Shirley and I went to the theatre. In fact we went to "The Lyceum" in the centre of our adopted city. It is a beautiful and typical old Victorian theatre that has been restored to its former glory - complete with dress circle, upper circle, boxes and plenty of gilded plaster adornment.

But surprisingly, we weren't there to study the architecture. We were there to see a performance of  "The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time" based on the novel by Mark Haddon.

The stage had been turned into a kind of giant black and white electronic cube and it was in this that we examined the tortured life of young Christopher Boone played brilliantly and empathetically by Scott Reid. Christopher suffers from Asperger's syndrome and attends a special school even though he is mathematically gifted.

When he discovers that it was his father who had killed next door's dog - Wellington - with a garden fork, he decides to travel from his home in Swindon to London to seek out his estranged mother. You can imagine how challenging that might be for an autistic teenager.

The electronic box set comes into its own and effectively conveys the confusion of this journey - the motion of the train, the thronging crowds, the underground stations flashing by. It is a kind of madness from which a breathless Christopher is ejected on to his mother's doorstep.

Christopher struggles to understand things because the people around him don't see the world his way but he does understand mathematics and when he discovers he has passed A level Maths with flying colours the possibility of a path through the jungle of the future appears clearly in his mind.

The performance was greatly entertaining and in spite of the subject matter often very funny. "The Derbyshire Times" said it was "an intelligent, dazzling, humorous, moving show" and Shirley and I would certainly endorse that summary.

19 comments:

  1. It sounds like an unusual kind of production. I hope it brings some awareness to the subject

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    1. That wasn't its prime purpose but as a by-product I think it will.

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  2. I ditto what Kylie has said.

    The play sounds bleak, and yet it contained humour. I guess that's life in a nutshell. Life is not all roses, and there is a time for sunshine between the rain and dark clouds.

    Your response perplex me, however. What is the purpose of the production then?

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    1. The main point of the production was to entertain. Enlightenment and education were secondary.

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    2. Fair enough.

      I meant to type "perplexes" me, of course...not "perplex". (Or - "I'm perplexed by your response.")

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  3. I've read the book. An unlikely piece to take to the stage but it sounds like they have done so with success.

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    1. Some theatre productions try to mirror the books they are based on as exactly as possible but this one had much more free rein.

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  4. I read the book years ago and loved it. Haven't seen the show, but the staging looks interesting!

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    1. A lot of imagination had gone into the stagecraft to enhance the drama and it really worked.

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  5. It's years since I read and enjoyed the book, so it would be interesting to see the stage production. It certainly looks unusual.

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    1. I also read and enjoyed the novel years ago but this production bore little resemblance to the novel.

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  6. I read this book years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Briony
    x

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    1. It's a shame the production isn't coming to Brighton Briony. I have a feeling you would love it. But it's on in London till June 3rd at The Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue - including some matinees.

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  7. Like most of the others here, and including you, I have read the book years ago and enjoyed it. In fact, I was looking for the review I was sure I had written back then, but couldn't find it on my blog, so it must have been before I started to put reviews of all the books I am reading on here.

    I could not imagine how to transfer the book to the stage, but it sounds like this production really works. I am glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. As there's no review in "The Mental Library", you may have simply dreamt that you read this book Miss Arian.

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  8. I have a mathematically gifted grandson who has mild Aspergers so you can imagine I have rather mixed feelings about this although it is brilliantly written.

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    1. Though Christopher is an entertaining character, in the end the audience laugh with him and not at him.

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  9. I can tell that this show kept your attention. It's not often a play can get all the parts of Asperger's or any other syndrome.

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  10. That was a brilliant book. I would certainly have gone to see that production.

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