Curious Incident of the dog in the night time review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Review | Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts | November 2, 2016

by • November 14, 2016

A 15-year-old autistic boy in a blue sweater kneels next to the corpse of a dog. He’s having the first of many anxiety-ridden episodes. The dog’s owner approaches the boy, accuses him of murder, and calls the police. The policeman comes — he has an orange leaf stuck to the bottom of his boot — and tries to talk to the boy. The boy attacks the policeman and is arrested. This opening scene is a whirlwind.

As a part of FAIRWINDS’s Broadway in Orlando series, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time arrived at Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts on November 2. But I had seen the play prior. My first experience with Curious Incident occurred on a visit to New York City, also my first Broadway play. Instantly, I was captivated by the next-level stage design. Flashing grids surrounded the actors. Glitchy electronic music drove the emotion forward. It was as if the audience had been transported into the mind of Christopher Boone — our 15-year-old protagonist. And after experiencing it again, I’m incredibly proud of the actors, Orlando, and Dr. Phillips, because they presented the entire Broadway production in all its majesty and terror.

Curious Incident is the incredibly dark journey of Christopher as he searches for the true killer of Wellington The Dog. Siobhan, his para-professional at the special education school he attends, serves as the voice of reason in Christopher’s mind even when she is not around. She guides both the audience and Christopher through his adventures as he wrestles to remain calm. Without ruining the huge reveals that litter the first act, I can say that Christopher uncovers even larger mysteries as the story unfolds. This leads him to steal his father’s bank card and board a train to London all by himself, a brave feat for someone who is paralyzed by loud noises and large crowds.

Allow me to again reference the grandeur of this stage design. It truly elevates the show beyond acting. If you stripped Curious Incident of its flashing lights, the play would still be a brilliant drama. But the groundbreaking technology is what makes Christopher’s story an odyssey. At one point, he is almost crushed by a passing subway, and the visuals and sounds made it feel like an approaching monster. The added drama and suspense throughout is maddening and dreadful. When Christopher finally succeeds, the moment so much more triumphant. Confetti explodes into the theater as he addresses us directly. We’ve been a part of this just as much as he has.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Review by Matthew Weller.


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