Rob Reviews "The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time"
Mental Illness is something that unfortunately plagues millions of people worldwide. When I think about it, I am saddened about how people have a major disadvantage in life due to no fault of their own. I do have a special spot in my heart for these types of people because of the fact that I have one step brother who is mentally challenged and another who is bi-polar. There have been great movies in the past that have addressed it like "A Beautiful Mind," but how many stage productions have really addressed it and even made it the main issue?
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" is the production adapted by Simon Stephens and based on the book by Mark Haddon, starring Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone, Charlotte Maier as Mrs. Shears, Gene Gillette as Ed Boone, Felicity Jones Latta as Judy Boone, Maria Elena Ramirez as Siobhan, and John Hemphill as Mr. Shears. It is the story of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy with what is believed to be autism but never stated, who lives in England with his father and goes to school. As the story begins, the neighbor’s dog is killed and he is blamed, so he tries to find out who killed him but winds up involving himself in much, much more.
The set here is very unique, with a back, top, and 2 side walls that were LED panels. They were used with minimal props in a way where I felt like you were going from location to location well. Sometimes, the LED walls showed graphics and blew me away visually at certain points. I had to use my imagination a lot with the sets and the props, but it worked well. When it came to the acting, Langdon hit it out of the park as the lead role, portraying someone with autism to a tee. His character and his acting meshed well with the other cast, who had great chemistry between all. My non-leading shout out has to go to Gillette who played his father, they fed of each other’s characters very well.
Now to the plot and storyline; it was unique, but it worked. The main storyline is simplistic, but it had so many underlying message in a very real way, from autism to relationships and heartfelt family issues. There were many times were I was emotionally drained due to the beauty of the production as it tells the story of Chris through his own eyes with autism, but also go back and forth with the real world. So there were two different point of views that seemed to be happening in real time. I have to warn that this production is not a normal production as it is not a musical and tends to get very artsy and "Warhol"-like. In the beginning, the storyline may be a little confusing and seem a little too "new wave", but after I realized how it is being presented, I was hooked in. I truly did love this production and may make my Top Five at the end of 2017. Plain and simple, see this production any way possible, and no matter where you sit, it will be worth it.