Penelope McGhie on the unique appeal of The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time is a multi-award winning show. Currently being performed at the Gieldgud Theatre in the Westend it brings a high energy, highly visual narrative to a captivating story. We asked our very own Penelope McGhie, who has been appearing in Curious for 3 years, to talk us through the show’s unique popularity.

We spoke to Penny backstage at the Gielgud to get an inside view on the show. For the full interview simply click play and we’ve also highlighted some key moments for you below.

Please tell us the background of the show (0:02)…
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was a book that Mark Haddon wrote a number of years ago and he asked Simon Stephens, a playwright, to do an adaptation of it. On the back cover of the book I believe when it was first published, the Publishers said that Christopher, the Protagonist, had Asberger Syndrome, which is never specified in the story.

But what it means is that Christopher sees his world very differently. He finds social contact difficult. He’s never been further than the end of his street. He doesn’t like being touched. He’s very very good at maths. He loves outer space. It’s a mystery story. And it’s a love story really about family and about how people see the world differently.

The Curious team get put through quite a unique ‘Bootcamp’ training regime – what’s that all about? (2:35)
Frantic Assembly, who made the movement in this show, when we’re training for this show they basically give us 6 weeks of bootcamp every morning, which is aerobics and circuit training, weightlifting, skipping, planks, press-ups… Everybody needs to have the strength to do this show.

Is the physicality of the show hard work? (3:32)
It’s hard work and when we’re in rehearsal, particularly I’ve been in the show now for 3 years, so we’re rehearsing the new cast and some of us are performing in the theatre at night. So it can be a long day, particularly if you are doing bootcamp in the morning. But we’re at a certain level of fitness now because before every show we get called for a movement warm-up… and it’s also a massive bonus to get fit for free – you don’t have to go to the gym!

Despite increasing competition from things like digital and social, live theatre seems to be going from strength to strength (4:19)
Speaking for this show, which has won 7 Olivier Awards, 5 Tony Awards, people love this show. And that is why it is such a privilege being part of it!