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Interview: Joshua Jenkins, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

31st January 2015
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, winner of seven 2013 Olivier Awards, is the National Theatre's thrilling stage play based on Mark Haddon's critcally aclaimed novel. Adapted to stage by Simon Stephens and directed by War Horse's Marianne Elliott, the production is currently travelling the UK on its first nationwide tour. 

Having achieved great success on both the West End and Broadway, the UK tour is set to show at over 30 theatres over a 12 month period running from November 2014 to November 2015. At it's current destination at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Jade Holroyd met with the show's lead, Joshua Jenkins, between performances. 

Jenkins plays Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old Asperger's sufferer who, although possessing an extraordinary gift for maths, struggles greatly with communicating in everday life. The story begins with Christopher finding his neighbour's dog, Wellington, dead. Although innocent, the young boy finds himself a suspect for the murder. The tale which ensues follows Christopher's journey to solve the mystery of Wellington's death, however his detective work takes an unexpected turn which completely transforms the world as he knew it.  

Jenkins describes the character of Christoper as "a beautiful spirit", stating that "everybody could benefit from being a little bit more like him, because he sees the world in a beautiful way." Only speaking positively of the production, Jenkins applauds all those involved in translating the story from book to stage: "When I read the book, I fell in love with it... you get to see the world through the extraordinary eyes of Christopher, and this is something that the stage version is also brilliant in making the audience do." 

Through a combination of music, lighting and movement, the hypersensitive emotions of Christopher are portrayed. The movement, which Jenkins describes as 'astounding', has been choreographed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett of Frantic Assembly. However, with the cast primarily made up of actors, the movement involved required the entire cast to attend a bootcamp prior to rehearsals, to ensure that they were physically prepared for the choreography. Jenkins recalls, "I was fairly unfit when I started, but I like to think I'm in good physical shape for the role now."

"The show lasts for two hours and 40 minutes and Christopher never actually leaves the stage, so it's fairly draining but I love every minute of it". Due to the physical demand of the lead role, along with the longevity of the run of the show, Jenkins shares the part of Christopher with Chris Ashby. Ashby is set to perform three out of the eight shows a week. 

"To date, the production has received a lot positive reviews. We've had a real mix of audiences and everybody has seemed to enjoy themselves...it's a family show and accessible for all." 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is currently showing at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle until 7th of February. The show is set to tour until November, ending in Milton Keynes on the 7th of November. 

It is also currently  running in London’s West End at the Gielgud Theatre.

Visit the production's Facebook page for more information here

Image: http://www.curiousonstage.com/




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