Most non-London theatregoers first heard of it after its West End transfer from the South Bank to the Apollo Theatre came to an abrupt end when the roof fell in during a performance. But that didn’t deter audiences, and now the show is on its first UK tour, at Bath until Saturday 30th October where every seat was sold before the curtain went up on the first night.
It’s not hard to see how this extraordinary multi-media piece of physical theatre has magnetised its audiences, many of whom were decades younger than the usual non-panto seat buyers. This might be explained by the fact that Haddon’s novel is an A Level set text, but that shouldn’t diminish the compelling theatrical power that the cast brings to this adapation.
There are lots of flashing lights and mathematical projections and trains in the show, the story of a high-functioning teenager with Asbergers Syndrome. Unable to make head or tail of emotion, metaphor or allusions, Christopher Boone lives in a world of isolated dependence, brilliantly solving compound equations but thrown into howling shaking fits by noise, anger and strangers.
The pressures he puts on his parents have proved intolerable, but this story is told from both his and their perspectives, without judgement, with humour and compassion and above all with acceptance.
It’s a remarkable book, turned into a remarkable play, performed on a spectacular set (designed by Bunnie Christie and Paule Constable) by an ensemble of actors led by Joshua Jenkins as Christopher.
There will be standby seats and standing room released each day by the Theatre Royal, so there is still a chance to see this unmissably memorable play.