Saturday 17 August 2013

Book Review and Theatre Review - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: 31 Mar 2004
ISBN-13: 978-0099450252

Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

My Review 
I'm going to concentrate on the book first and then talk about the play.
I have had this book in my locker at work for about 4 years, I was always told I would enjoy it and when a copy was on the book sale I took it, but then I kept putting it off. Then my friend asked if I wanted to go and see the play with her, it's just come out in London and she really wanted to see it, being a fan of the book. I'm always happy to go to the Theatre in London and so agreed, realising I would have to dig the book out and read it before I went.
The play was Friday night, by Thursday I still hadn't read it, so at 10 that night I sat down and started to read. 
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book and what i got wasn't anything like i imagined, but I did find myself enjoying it. Christopher - the main character, our narrator is 15 years old and in his words has 'behavioural problems', it has been confirmed that he actually has 'Aspergers'.
Because he sees the world differently the book is written in a very different way to anything I had read before, Christopher is very honest and stark in his observations, he says what he thinks and often gets quite overwhelmed. I really felt a connection to his character and found it very interesting to experience the world through a very different perspective. The amount of details he picked up in his surroundings but would completely miss in people's expressions. This is typical of Aspergers sufferers though.
Christopher's dad tells him to stay out of people's business and to forget about the dead dog, but Christopher doesn't like unsolved mysteries, he has to know why and who did it, so he works hard to find out who commited the crime, but along the way he unearths other mysteries.
There was a very surprising revelation in the book that I did not see coming that changed everything, but this made the book all the more exciting and gripping. I just had to read on. I ended up falling asleep 220 pages in and had to finished the book in the morning, but that was ok, it meant it was fresh in my mind. 
I thought this book was very well written, the story is exciting and fun but also sensitive.
I am glad I read it and think it is the sort of book everyone should read, you'd definitely take something from it.

My Rating

Now, I don't usually review films or plays or anything but I have to do a quick one for this. 
We saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Apollo Theatre in London. 
When we got there they had really gone all out with the decoration, big posters outside, but when you walked in there was little doodles and sketches all over the walls that reflected aspects of the story. Christopher loves Maths and physics - they are logical and make sense so he likes them, therefore the wall was covered in Maths equations and drawings. Along with the dog outline and quotes from the book/play. It really set the atmosphere and we got really excited for the upcoming show.
We bought our souveniers - I got the programme which has loads of interesting information about the show and the story in it, before making our way to our seats. Our seats were right in the Upper Circle, almost at the top, it was high so we had to acclimatise ourselves with the height. It meant we had a good view of most of the stage, but the back wall of the stage and the very front was slightly cut out of view, but for the most part we were set, and once it started, we realised most of the action was in the middle of the stage so we didn't really miss much. There were a couple of times when writing appeared on the back wall and we couldn't read it all - but having read the book so recently we knew what it said.
We had wondered how it would come across on stage - the book is very much written from Christopher's internal thought, but it came across beautifully. They adapted it well but kept it very faithful to the book, their dialogue was lifted right off the page.
The stage itself too was awesome, it was fully interactive - with hidden panels, different light arrangements, walls that moved, floors that lifted, flashing signs and all sorts, it was spectacular. It really brought to life Christopher's view of the world and how he must feel. The cast was just amazing, they all did a fantastic job and I don't think I've ever been that impressed before, especially with the boy who was playing Christopher himself, Luke Treadaway, was breath-taking. He totally brought it to life and left us all speechless. 
It was a fantastic production and we were all totally blown away by it. If you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend that you do.

An added bonus was that there were 'prizes' up for grabs. Christopher loves Prime numbers and can work them out up to a ridiculously high number, throughout the seats in the theatre some of them had been coloured white - these had a card on them explaining that every seat in the theatre was counted and those that were white were prime number seats. It also explained that if your name totalled a prime number you would get a prize. 
You had to work this out by writing your full name and assigning each letter it's 'value' so A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on. You then add the numbers up and if that totalled to a Prime Number you could claim your prize. 
My name added up to 73 which is a Prime Number and I got a funky badge for telling them that. It made it more personal and interactive and who doesn't love a free badge. :D   

It was a fabulous night and I am so glad my friend invited me, just wow.   


Carole said...

Becky, this sounds fascinating. I was a bit put off by the title but now I see I should read it. Cheers

PS If you wanted to add it to the August Books You Loved over at Carole's Chatter that would be great!

barmybex said...

It was really good, the title is a bit odd, but it is definitely worth a read.
I will do thanks. :D

Carole said...

Thanks for stopping by Becky

Matthew Selwyn said...

Great to read a review of the play and book side by side. I haven't seen the play yet but would love to catch it sometime - your write up has only encouraged me!

My review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon