Multi-award winning show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time arrives in Norwich
- Credit: Archant
The National Theatre's dazzlingly inventive staging of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is returning to the region. Scott Reid tells us about playing Christopher, the central character who sees the world differently.
There are some theatrical shows that manage to create such an immediate connection with the audience that they can justifiably claim to be an instant classic.
Such is the case with the acclaimed production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a remarkable piece of theatre based on Mark Haddon's best-selling novel which has been adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens.
The National Theatre's award-winning production won seven Olivier Awards including Best Play in 2013 and has since wowed audiences on Broadway in the West End and on a UK tour.
Next week the show, complete with its amazing hi-tech stage design, makes a welcome return to Norwich Theatre Royal.
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Young Scottish actor Scott Reid takes on the central role of 15-year-old Christopher Boone as he investigates the mysterious death of his neighbour's dog.
Christopher has an extraordinary brain – exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But when he discovers Mrs Shears' dog speared with a garden fork it takes him on a journey that upturns his world.
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Such has been the success of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the part of Christopher must have been fiercely coveted. What was reaction to getting it for this tour?
It was absolute joy. There were quite a lot of rounds to go through for the role, including physical and movement auditions. It is the most strenuous audition processes I've ever been through. To take on this challenge of playing such a wonderful role was very exciting. I really believe that Curious Incident has staked a claim as being a modern classic and for such a young character like Christopher to be the central character is something quite exceptional. It is a great challenge for any young actor, so I was really delighted to get the part.
Christopher is central to the story and it is a physically and mentally demanding role. Were you nervous approaching it?
It never filled me with fear it just filled me with adrenaline and excitement. There is pressure because of the nature of the part but I became an actor because I wanted to tell stories and play interesting characters. Christopher demands so such of me but it is such a wonderful story to tell that I wouldn't have it any other way. It is such a beautifully demanding role in terms of focus and concentration. Physically it is demanding but you also mentally put yourself through the ringer with every performance.
Did you have to do any special preparations or research for the role?
In rehearsals we did a kind of boot camp. You need to be in really good physical shape for this show, so there was a lot of work of strength. My lifestyle, even my diet had to change to be in the right sort of shape to play it. Also there is a different accent I'm using and there is a lot of dialogue. So there was a lot of stuff to learn and a lot to work on. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it.
The show has won numerous awards for its groundbreaking staging. Does that help you as an actor?
It's incredible and this show probably couldn't have been done 20 years ago. The set design is like Christopher's brain, the inside of his head. It is the 11th member of cast in many ways, so yes it does so much for us. The storytelling that it enables us to do is incredible, whether it is the projections, the lights or the LEDs. Unfortunately for me I don't really get to see it. There is a section where the stars and the planets get projected on the walls, but at that point I'm doing a back flip and being carried through space.
Had you seen the production before being cast?
Once I got the part I went to see it in the West End just to experience it and to size up the job that was in front of me. It was interesting to see another actor's thoughts about the character or how particular scenes were different to what I was thinking. I think getting to see it like that allows you to be less ignorant when you are making choices in the rehearsal room.
The show has quickly become an audience favourite. What do you think is the enduring appeal of both Mark Haddon's book and the stage adaptation?
I think fundamentally it is a story about a family. And it's a story about death within a family and that is something that every single person can relate to. And seeing the character of Christopher come of age and transform from a boy into a young man, people love those kinds of stories. Christopher is wired differently. For him every day has challenges and he takes the audience on that journey with him. That's the beauty of the play; it allows you to see the world differently.
• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is at Norwich Theatre Royal from August 29-September 2, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Aug 30/Sept 2, £28.50-£8, 01603 630000, theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk