WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Gielgud Theatre
WHEN: 1/1, runs to 18/6
This production opened in the round at the National three years ago, transferred to the West End, won seven Oliviers and five Tonys and survived a roof collapse before moving to its current home. Has its power diminished?
This is our first ever viewing of Curious and Olivier winners Luke Treadaway (best actor for his role as 15-year-old Christopher who has learning difficulties) and Nicola Walker (best supporting actress as his mother, Judy) are long gone.
It’s hard to imagine this opening in the round because the LED screens which dominate all three walls of the stage and its base enhance the action no end.
Impressive too is the physicality of the performance (particularly from new Christopher, played here by Siôn Daniel Young) with our hero literally bouncing off the walls of the stage as the cast combine hypnotically, to almost dance the production at times.
The story involves Christopher’s attempts to discover who killed a neighbour’s dog and then to negotiate his way to London before taking a maths A-Level early. It’s the sort of inspirational fare about the benefits of education (without being afraid of taking aim at a despairing headmistress) which is likely to have teachers across the globe roaring their approval.
We’re not big fans of author Simon Stephens, who adapted the book by Mark Haddon, but for once having such a self-centred male protagonist (we last saw Stephens’ Song From Far Away at the Young Vic and Birdland at the Royal Court) works.
Impossible for us to say of course whether the power of Curious has diminished as this was our first viewing but it’s certainly a thought-provoking evening staged brilliantly and its potential audience shouldn’t be put off by the subject matter.