Following a successful tour in 2015, the National Theatre’s internationally acclaimed production of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME makes a welcome return to Salford’s The Lowry this week as it embarks on a second UK tour.
The innovative drama based on Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel tells the story of Christopher Boone, a fifteen year old boy with an extraordinary brain but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When his neighbour’s dog is found speared with a garden fork, Christopher is under suspicion. Determined to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington, Christopher embarks on a journey that upturns his world and questions his relationship with those closest to him.
Ahead of its opening on 21 January at Salford’s The Lowry, Frankly My Dear UK caught up with David Michaels who plays Christopher’s father Ed Boone. The Wilmslow and Manchester educated actor, whose previous credits include TICKING at Trafalgar Studios and THE DISHONOURED (UK Tour) as well as voiceovers for Lucozade Sport, Fairy and Renault, is relishing the opportunity to be a part of the Oliver and Tony award-winning production.
“I read the script and thought wow, what an amazing script. It’s so spare, it’s so poignant, harsh, believable, truthful, sad and funny” comments Michaels, in an exclusive interview with Frankly My Dear UK.
“I went to see it [the play] before I went up for it and the theatricality of it is just extraordinary. The whole play takes place in Christopher’s brain and because he’s a mathematics genius, the set has a huge tilt towards maths so there are markings on the floor, the boxes are numbered and the walls do various things. It’s just a great theatrical experience but within that, it just has an amazing truthful, heartfelt story.”
Michaels plays Ed Boone, a single parent struggling to juggle everyday life whilst holding together a strong relationship with his son, who has an autism spectrum condition. Like Christopher, Ed is complex character who also has to cope with some big changes in his life.
“This play takes place in a two year time frame but if the play had started three years ago you would see a completely different Ed” explains Michaels.
“The man that he [Ed] has become is not the man he really is. He is trying to do everything that he can for Christopher’s good but they were misconceived and the ramifications are enormous. He did it because that’s all he could think of and how to cope… so that’s where I started from. He’s not bad man, he’s not an aggressive man – he’s just an ordinary bloke trying to juggle extraordinary things”
Striking the perfect balance between understanding and anger which Ed experiences is certainly a challenge.
“His [Ed’s] first half and the second half are quite different” comments Michaels.
“In the second half, he [Ed] goes through quite a character transformation. He’s obviously incredibly frustrated with Christopher, just dealing with him day-to-day but then when Christopher leaves, it sort of wrenches his heart out really. He has to rebuild those bridges starting absolutely from scratch and try to deal with somebody whose mind functions in a different way is really, really difficult.”
Yet despite the strained relationship between Christopher and his father, Michaels believes the play is incredibly hopeful.
“He’s [Christopher] following his dream. He might not become an astronaut but I think he will become a scientist and that’s incredibly hopeful.”
“He gets his A level, he gets an A*, he’s going to take further maths, he’s going to go to University and he’s going to become a scientist so there is a huge hope in that. Whereas the parents, their dreams have sort have gone by the wayside I think in some ways.”
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME opens at Salford’s The Lowry on 21 January and is on tour in the UK until September 2017.