Mark Haddon’s book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time took the world by storm in 2003 and now the stage-play is doing the same thing. It’s had an extended, sell-out season in the UK, a critically acclaimed run on Broadway and a world tour taking in the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, China and Australia.
The Curious Incident, with Joshua Jenkins in the lead role, will begin its Perth shows at His Majesty’s from August 8.
Joshua agrees that, with the phenomenal success of the book, it made perfect sense to ensure that the onstage drama closely follows Haddon’s original storyline.
“The show is very loyal to the book and all of us felt it was important to maintain that level of integrity. We might have to tweak a word or two for an overseas audience but it’s pretty much the same show you’d see in London. It’s interesting to see the different theatre etiquette in other countries. In China it’s not unusual to hear mobile phones ringing and people often pop out to go the loo, presumably.”
“When Christopher, the main character, puts on his detective hat and steps out into the world he really dives in the deep end. Although it’s not stated explicitly, Christopher is obviously on the autism spectrum. He doesn’t like being touched, he’s uncomfortable in many social situations and loud noises frighten him.”
“But he’s so courageous in, quite literally, stepping outside his comfort zone. It turns his world upside down. And there’s even a line in the play where Christopher says, ‘I was brave!’ And he was, as are we all at different times.”
“Most of us aren’t good at some things – at times, most things – and often it takes courage to step out the front door and hold down a job or maintain a relationship. That’s what life’s about, and we can all identify with that.”
Joshua was one of those lucky people who, from a young age, had a pretty clear idea of his chosen career. When he was seven years-old a bunch of bright, colourful characters caught his eye.
“I can’t remember a time when I wanted to be anything else but an actor, although I did have brief fling with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because my Mum told me I could be anything I wanted!”
“My sister went along to dance classes and I’d go and watch the shows. I loved it! One Christmas my Nan gave me some tap shoes and the rest is history.”
“Coming to Australia has been really exciting because most of the cast, including me, have never been here. We came to Brisbane, then Asia and now we’re back again. It’s just amazing, we’re so lucky. We get to do what we love and travel the world at the same time.”
“We’ve been to 15 major cities on four continents with this show. It’s lovely because we get a week off here and there. I’ve driven down the Great Ocean Road and seen the Grampians in Victoria, and Port Douglas up north. This country is so beautiful.”
So, just what can Perth theatre-goers expect to see when the curtain goes up at the Maj?
“There’s certainly a lot going on! A big, black box sits onstage and it really becomes Christopher’s whole world. We enter Christopher’s mind, and he is definitely someone who sees the world differently. The audience is bombarded by strobe lights and images making it a totally immersive experience.”
“Curious Incident is, I think, all about a celebration of difference. It’s a window into how we treat people who are seen as strange and difficult. I’d like to see more stories like this. It would be lovely if all of us were a little more open-minded.”