Love, loss, anger, confusion, frustration, Aspergers, maths, trains, colours, life. Just a few key themes of a fantastic book and now play.
The Curious Incident play at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, did not disappoint. A contemporary and insightful set (Scott Fleary Limited) helped viewers to engage with Christopher’s confused ‘Aspergers’ related mind. Helping the reader to understand the diversity and intensity of a mind that runs along the Autistic spectrum.
In the story, Christopher tells us he is a 15-year-old boy and says he is; “someone who has Behavioural Problems.” From this, and several meaningful reviews we realise he is on the Autistic spectrum and perhaps has Aspergers. Although, as the author, Mark Haddon, points out- he often regrets the books attachment to this condition, he says: “(finding the correct representation of someone with the condition is complicated.) They are as various as any other group in society.”
Joshua Jenkins, who played Christopher, enthralled viewers with a comical, practical and comforting portrayal of someone with a disability like this. He did all the things that we would expect from Christopher- I do not want to spoil the play so I cannot go into too much detail- but his abrupt actions and at times funny outlook on life made the piece remarkable.
The drama also means that there are some sad moments for the protagonist. He is dragged into a very confusing world where he discovers that all is not as it seemed regarding his parents, neighbours and not surprisingly, dogs. This world is extremely complicated for him as he struggles with concepts that most of us understand easily, for example when his mother sees him again after a long time she rushes to hug him, which scares and angers him. He also refers to intimacy as “doing sex together.” And at times seems more concerned for his pet rat, Toby, than anyone else including himself. Trust me, the captivating scene with a train is one not to missed.
White Light and Howard Eaton Lighting Limited should also be very proud, providing some fantastic lighting for the play with scenes like the underground, London, street scenes and living room designs coming to life. Including the escalator shown below. The contemporary set allowed for many different features and designs to be created.
If I could tell you more without ruining the experience I would, but I can only deeply suggest going to see this reality-distorted yet very human portrayal of the book.
P.S stay right to the end to find out how he solved a mathematical question and leave feeling gobsmacked…