August 3, 2013

That’s right, the UO blog is going all West End.

We’re not talking Les Misérables or Grease the musical here (although there is a place in our hearts for a solid sing along). Instead, we’re all about the pioneering show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – a play taking set design to the next level.

Woah! Check out this awesome prize giveaway you could win for you and a special friend, courtesy of the National Theatre.

Two top price tickets to the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Apollo Theatre, London.

Transport to London.

A night’s stay in a central London hotel.

And an opportunity to meet Bunny Christie, the play’s award-winning set designer!

Click HERE and sign up to win with code UOCURIOUS!

Competition ends on August 10th at Midnight (UK only)! We’ll be picking one lucky winner on the 12th! (T&C’S apply)


Adapted from the popular novel written by Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident is a tale of self-discovery told through the narrative mind of 15 year-old Christopher John Francis Boone. After discovering the slain body of his neighbour’s pet dog (grim), Christopher becomes obsessed with solving the murder mystery, leading him to unearth emotional facts involving his families past.

The play, performed in a crazy cube-like chamber of light, is something truly unique – sets and situations all created by totally techy LEDs and projections. With such an amazing visual display, we just had to have a chat with award winning set designer Bunny Christie – here’s what went down…

UO: Hello Bunny! Where are you right now?

BC: Hi. I am in my studio trying to ignore the beautiful sunny day outside.

UO: The set design for The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time is an amazing feat. How did the concept first come to you?

BC: We really wanted the set to feel like the inside of Christophers brain. It needs to become lots of different locations and feel like a playground for the actors to whizz around in. Christopher is really into Maths and Science so the whole set is a kind of maths equation with surprises and magic. We wanted to celebrate the geek in all of us!


UO: There’s a crazy amount of tech going on with the show – was there ever a point where you thought, “oh crap, this isn’t going to work”…?

BC: I did have 3am moment of terror about Luke Treadaway climbing down the escalator with no handrail, three meters up, on a moving wall, in the dark. The Production Manager sent me a brilliant e-mail saying “nightmares are good, they focus the mind – he will be safe!” Oh, and somethings didn’t work.

UO: What’s your favourite part of the show?

BC: I love Christopher searching the house for his book, when we use lots of led lights, the music and movement are brilliant and it’s really funny. And I love the end of the first half when he decides to go to London. That always gives me goose bumps because he has been through so much and he is about to go on a crazy journey and he has no idea what it will be like. We have a little cityscape of his journey that light up and lead him to Big Ben and the London Eye.


UO: You must have seen and sat in many theatres, which would you say is your favourite so far?

BC: Oh crikey. Theatre is really about what goes on inside them rather then the buildings themselves. But I used to go to the Glasgow Citizens before I was a designer and it was all red and gold and crumbling and decadent – I loved that.

UO: Can you remember your first theatre experience?

BC: It was Peter Pan. The children flew, Captain Hook was really scary and I didn’t want it end – it was magic


UO: How does one become a set designer? Any tips for the young and ambitious out there?

BC: Generally designers go to Art School and do a degree in Theatre Design. There are specific skills you need to learn and lots of courses out there. Art School is a brilliant training for lots of jobs – everyone should have a few years at Art School – being creative and really looking at things is a fantastic skill.

UO: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

BC: Being part of team Curious!


UO: What other parts of culture inspire you? Any books bands or artists your totally loving right now?

BC: I’m really loving “First Aid Kit”, I have that on constantly and “Billy Vincent” are a great London band. Big fan of Max Richter who is a Scottish composer of really beautiful contemporary classical music. Art-wise the Leandro Erlich Dalston House exhibit is great – his work is really inspiring and fun.

UO: If you could design the set for any play made in the entire history of theatre, with an unlimited budget and total creative freedom, what play would you choose and what would you do?

BC: Oh man don’t ask me that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


UO: If someone were to make a play about you, which actress would you choose to play your role?

BC: Ok fantasy time – Kate Blanchett – she’s gorgeous. That would be nice.

UO: What do you do to unwind after a solid day of set design?

BC: Crash in front of some trash TV. Made in Chelsea/The Kardashians, big cup of tea – ahh! That works for me!

UO: So you live in London, where do you like to hangout on a day off?

BC: Hampstead Heath is lovely and relaxing, that’s a regular Sunday morning haunt.

UO: Tell us a joke…

BC: A three legged dog walks into a wild west Saloon Bar. He sidles up to the Bar and says “I’m looking for the man who shot my Paw.”



(Photos by Brinkhoff/Moegenburg)