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'CURIOUS INCIDENT' Comes to Canterbury Next Month

The National Theatre's multi-award-winning production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time makes its Kent premiere at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, next month (May).

Adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon's best-selling book, the play received seven Olivier Awards in 2013, including Best New Play, Best Director, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design. It is simultaneously running at the Gielgud Theatre in London and on Broadway, as well as on touring the UK and Ireland.

The show tells the story of 15-year-old Christopher Boone. He stands next to Mrs Shears' dead dog, which has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, and is 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 distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

The central role of Christopher is played by Joshua Jenkins, with Geraldine Alexander as his teacher Siobhan, Roberta Kerr as Mrs Alexander, Stuart Laing as his father Ed, Gina Isaac as Judy and Clare Perkins as Mrs Shears.

The cast is completed by Chris Ashby (alternate Christopher), Emmanuella Cole (Punk Girl), Edward Grace (Mr Thompson), Lucas Hare (Roger Shears), John McAndrew (Reverend Peters), with Kieran Garland, Ann Marcuson, Paul Sockett and Jessica Williams in the ensemble.

Swansea-born Jenkins makes his National Theatre debut as Christopher. His previous theatre credits include Dunsinane for the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre of Scotland.

Alexander's TV work includes Father Brown, Shetland, and the original series of Taggart. Her recent theatre work includes Eleanor of Aquitaine in Holy Warriors at the Globe Theatre.

Kerr is well known to TV viewers for her role as Wendy Crozier, Ken Barlow's love interest in Coronation Street in 1990, who made a return to the role in 2012. Other TV work includes Downtown Abbey, Silk and Brookside.

Laing's stage credits include Seasons Greetings (Liverpool Playhouse), Streetcar Named Desire (Theatr Clwyd) and Indian Country (Script Cymru Traverse). TV and film: How TV Ruined my Life, Rob Minter in EastEnders and Spooks.

Isaac recently played Brenda in Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, Top Girls and Absent Friends at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Sellotape Sisters at the Diorama Theatre, and Sarah in Ricky Gervais' Derek.

Perkins recently played Ava in EastEnders. Her most recent theatre was at The Tricycle Theatre in London in The House That Will Not Stand. On TV, Jocelyn in Run for Channel 4, and Simone in Holby City. On film she played Linda in Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies and Jill in Ken Loach's Ladybird Ladybird.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is directed by Marianne Elliott, an Associate Director of the National Theatre. She co-directed the National Theatre's record-breaking production of War Horse. Her other productions include The Light Princess, Saint Joan (Olivier Award for Best Revival, South Bank Show Award for Theatre), and Pillars Of The Community (Evening Standard Award for Best Director). Elliott was consultant director on The Elephantom for the National Theatre and also recently directed Sweet Bird Of Youth for the Old Vic with Kim Cattrall.

Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time was published in 2003. It was the winner of more than 17 literary awards, including prizes in Japan, Holland and Italy, as well as the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in the UK in 2004, and was translated into 44 languages. A Spot Of Bother, published in 2006, was also an international bestseller.

As well as writing fiction, Haddon's first work for the theatre, Polar Bears, was produced by the Donmar Warehouse in 2010. He has written 15 books for children, published a first collection of poetry in 2005 and is an illustrator and award-winning screenwriter. The Red House, Haddon's new novel was recently published by Vintage in paperback.

Simon Stephens' play Birdland recently ran at the Royal Court Theatre with Andrew Scott in the central role. His play Port (originally produced at the Royal Exchange and also directed by Marianne Elliott) was revived at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre last year. He has many other plays to his name, both for the National and other theatres. He is an Associate at the Lyric, Hammersmith.

Stephens said about adapting Haddon's novel for the stage: "The adaptation was a really joyful experience. I knew two things in adapting the play. I knew that the key to it was the relationship between Christopher and his teacher. Although it's not that central in the novel, what struck me was that everybody in life has a favourite teacher. Even people who hated school, even people who found school a miserable experience, had one teacher who they loved more than others and thought got them in a way that other teachers didn't. I knew that if I could get that relationship right, then we could create an evening in the theatre that people could recognize themselves in.

"The other thing that I knew was that Marianne Elliott had to direct it. I think she's a visionary director, I think she's a director of extraordinary imagination, but she's also a very democratic director. This can't be a piece of theatre that alienates people. It has to be a piece of theatre that you can come to if you're 10 years old or if you're 90 years old.

"It needs to appeal to people that have very high art taste in theatre, but also it's got to be a family night out, and I thought that Marianne could release that really beautifully and really perfectly. Everybody working on it, the entire creative team, were united in wanting to tell Christopher's story as honestly and properly as possible.

"All I ever wanted to do was to make Mark Haddon happy. He came to see rehearsals and the previews and the show at the National and in the West End and Broadway and he fell back in love with Curious Incident all over again. That makes me as proud as anything."

Haddon added: "When I wrote Curious Incident I was absolutely convinced that it couldn't be adapted for film or stage. The novel is one person's very insulated and sometimes profoundly mistaken view of the world. We're stuck inside Christopher's head from cover to cover. We see the world the way he sees the world. And there's the problem. Or so it seemed to me. Theatre is radically third person. You can infer what people are thinking but you can do so only from what they say and what they do.

"I simply couldn't imagine how Christopher's story could be told with any integrity in this way. Simon's genius was to recognize that I was completely and utterly wrong."

The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time is at The Marlowe Theatre from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 23 May (various performance times). Tickets, priced from £16 to £37.50 (discounts available; booking fee applies), are from the Box Office on 01227 787787 or at marlowetheatre.com. There will be signed, audio-described and captioned performances (see the website for details).


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