Broadway’s Tony winning drama The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens based off of brings the audience into the mind of Christopher a fifteen year old autistic boy through inventive sets, lighting, and staging. It’s also incredibly moving and just fantastic! I saw it Thursday June 23, 2016 at 7 pm and it’s running until September 4, 2016 at the Barrymore Theater. It brings to light the challenges of autism and still tells a beautiful story.
Christopher Boome is a autistic fifteen year old boy who falls under suspicion for murdering his neighbor, Mrs. Shears, dog. What follows is a long bit of detective work leading to enormous discoveries.
The conviction throughout the show was fantastic and all characters were played excellently. A standout performance was from Andrew Long (Ed, Christopher’s father) who was good in Act One, but completely blew it out of the water in both Act Two and the end of Act One as he tries to hold his family together. In addition, Tyler Lea’s performance as Christopher was phenomenal going from tear-jerking moments to laugh out loud hilarity. Another performance highlight (Yes, another one. It was really good!) when Mercedes Herrero (as Mrs. Gayscoyne, the principal of Christopher’s school) repeated the lines previously said by the narrator. The volume and articulation was some of the best that I’ve ever seen in a play.
The set design (by Bunny Christie) looks like a graph with several blocks and one red plastic chair which shows the organization of Christopher’s mind. In addition, the screens on the side and back of the stage, LED lights built into the stage, and straight up normal lighting design and well as sound design creates a complete sensory overload at many points in the show. Now normally this doesn’t work and is just overwhelming, but in this show it somehow works and gives you no choice but to experience what Christopher is going through. The costuming in several scenes has the ensemble in grey and black while Christopher is costumed in bright colors throughout, highlighting his difference from most people. Below: The set at the top of the show.
The movement sequences throughout the play add another interesting element to the play through dance, a medium not usually used in straight plays. The direction (by Marianne Elliott) incorporated the sets in interesting ways, such as when Christopher climbs up the back wall and runs down the wall with an escalator projection. The language used by the playwright, Simon Stephens, is contemporary in the best possible way. Though one should note that there is some strong language. If you’ve seen Jersey Boys, there’s about one fifth of the cursing that goes on in that show.
Overall, it was a fabulous production of a beautiful show. 9/10 do recommend! Entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. A tip- stay after the show until Christopher comes out again after curtain. It’s worth it.
Curious Incident is playing at the Barrymore Theater through September 4,2016. The cast currently includes Tyler Lea as Christopher, Benjamin Wheelwright as Christopher Wednesday evening and Saturday matinee performances, Rosie Benton as Siobhan, Enid Graham as Judy, Nancy Robinette as Mrs. Alexander and Andrew Long as Ed. The Ensemble consists of Mercedes Herrero, Ben Horner, Richard Hollis, David Manis, Keren Dukes, Stephanie Roth Haberle, Tom Patrick Stephens, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, and Tim Wright. The play was written by Simon Stephens based on the novel by Mark Haddon, directed by Marianne Elliott, Scenic and Costume Design by Bunny Christie, Lighting Design by Paul Constable, Video Design by Finn Ross, Movement Direction by Scott Graham and Steven Hodgett (for Frantic Movement), Music by Adrian Sutton, Sound Design by Ian Dickinson (for Autograph), and Casting by Daniel Swee and Cindy Tolan. Curious Incident runs 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission. Full Price Tickets available here, Chance it with the lottery here, and check out the shows website for more information here. Tickets start at $27 and Lottery Tickets are $30. I would recommend this show for ages 12+ as there is some discussion of sex (no innuendo) and strong language. Buy the novel by Mark Haddon!