Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone is brilliant at Maths, and he never tells lies, but the challenges of being a teenager are magnified by what he calls his "behavioural difficulties" that make him interpret life very differently. His world is restricted to the road where he lives with his dad. To add to his problems, he is suspected of murdering his neighbour's dog.
Mark Haddon's book is so well loved that interpreting it as a play required something very special. With this production that is exactly what you get. From director Marian Elliott's brilliant staging, with extraordinary effects, to the sensitive interpretation of each character by the cast, this production truly delivers.
Scott Reid's performance as Christopher is stupendous. He is centre-stage for the full two hours and is totally believable as the lead. Christopher hates being touched and his complete lack of social skills allow for some hilarious moments. In the first half Christopher decides to become detective and discover who killed Wellington the dog.His relationship with Siobhan, his teacher, (played wonderfully sensitively by Lucianne McEvoy) appears to be the only stable thing in his life, after his trust in his father is destroyed when he reveals the truth about the fate of Christopher's mother.
The second half is all about his determination to find answers. To do this requires enormous courage and ingenuity as Christopher is terrified of loud noises, hates crowds and has never travelled beyond his own Swindon street. The stage management of the underground scene is extraordinary and the terrifying sensory overload gives an insight into what goes on in Christopher's head. For the boy who never lies this betrayal by his father leads to some heart-wrenchingly emotional scenes. David Michaels and Emma Beattie, who play Christopher's parents Ed and Judy, are achingly convincing as they struggle to cope with not just his behaviour, but also the effect their tangled relationship has on their son. Particularly heart-wrenching are Ed's efforts to regain his son's trust.
Watching this play is by turns exhausting and very moving but it is also extremely funny. It is not about labelling people, but about hope and courage and never giving up. The play has been described as 'un-missable' and it truly earns that tag. One little tip – don't be in too much of a hurry to leave at the end!