Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time Is A Multisensory Lesson In Communication
Reviewed by: Michael J. Roberts
Performance date: November 1, 2016, Orlando, Florida
How we as a people communicate with each other is arguably the most vital in shaping our total humanity. Sharing our thoughts, feelings and emotions and to have them understood is something most of us take for granted from the time we are infants. In the multi-Oliver and Tony winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, whose national tour opened last night at the Dr. Phillip’s Center in Orlando, the audience is privy to how a teenage boy’s autistic (although never diagnosed) mind radically re-organizes thoughts to make sense of a basic truth or reality.
Adapted by playwright Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel, Curious Incident follows fifteen year old Christopher on a journey to solve the mystery of the death of his neighbor’s dog. Through breathtaking visuals, the audience is taken inside Christopher’s mathematically complex mind to discover the truth behind not only the dog’s murder, but also the reality that sets in motion his quest for truth.
As Curious Incident is really a play within a play, each moving part of this production must work perfectly in order for the audience to follow Christopher’s path. Under the precise and meticulous direction of Marianne Elliott, this show path is made clear as she innately understands how to relate communication on a base level. Anyone who was privileged to see Ms. Elliott’s mind blowing production of War Horse either at the National Theatre in London, on Broadway or the National Tour will know exactly where the point I am making. As with War Horse, Curious Incident takes what we assume about compassion in communication and brings it to another level.
The cast for the national tour is also pristine, with a multi-dimensional and layered performance by Adam Langdon as Christopher. As his parents, Felicity Jones Latta and Gene Gillette walk a fine line of showing their immense facilities as parents while still finding audience sympathy.
As with the Broadway production, it is the multi-media sensory experience that makes Curious Incident such a memorable production. Finn Ross (Video Designer), Bunnie Christie (Scenic Designer) and Paule Constable (Lighting Design) have all created a unique cerebral meeting place for both Christopher and the audience, even though the largess of the Walt Disney Theatre eclipses the more subtle moments of the play. By the end, you will be lifted to your feet when Christopher’s soul finds yours.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time plays through November 6, 2016 at the Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts. For tickets and more information visit DrPhillipsCenter.org For information on the play visit CuriousIncedentOnBroadway.com