Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was a bestseller when it was published in 2003, partly because of its innovative form as a cross-over children’s and adult book, but mainly for the unique character of its hero and narrator, 15-year old Christopher Boone. Christopher sees the world differently from anyone else. He describes himself as a “mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”, difficulties that include having trouble interpreting the world or expressing his feelings in a conventional way, or being preoccupied by unusual details such as how many red cars he sees in a day, or avoiding the colours yellow and brown, and being anxious when confronted with a new environment and people. He does have an exceptional aptitude for Maths, as well as acute powers of observation and memory. When his neighbour’s dog is killed in curious circumstances, Christopher sets off to try to solve the crime. He makes for a formidable detective, but in pursuing his project he discovers much more than he set out to find, and in so doing we see the real practical and emotional challenges that life consists of for him, and for his parents and the teachers who care about him.
Playwright Simon Stephens’s magical theatrical adaptation of Christopher’s story was originally produced at the National Theatre in 2012, directed by Marianne Elliot, before transferring to London’s West End where it won seven Olivier Awards in 2013, including Best New Play. The play has been a smash hit around the world in the ten years since it was first produced, and as we record this episode it has just finished a successful run at the Troubador Wembley Park Theatre in London, and is embarking on a tour of 16 theatres around the UK, as well as a visit to Dublin, between January and May 2022.
I am delighted to be able to talk with Simon about this unique drama.
Note: there a occasions during our conversation where strong language is used.