BWW Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Theatre Harrisburg
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a very interesting and unique play. It is part character study, part family drama, and part (dog) murder mystery. The current production by Theatre Harrisburg blends all of these elements seamlessly into a great night of theater.
Garrett Knisley plays Christopher Boone, a British teenager on the autism spectrum. Knisley's acting choices are nuanced. They never rely on disability stereotype or exaggeration. It is evident that this actor has put significant thought and effort into such a well-rounded portrayal.
When Christopher discovers his neighbor's dog dead with a pitchfork stabbed through it, he makes it his mission to find out who the killer is and why. Brenda C. Eppley stars as Siobhan, Christopher's teacher and mentor. She also serves as a sort of narrator for the story. Eppley is cool and collected and serves well as Christopher's rock for the non-stop emotional turmoil that he experiences.
Anthony Leukus plays Christopher's dad, Ed. Leukus gives a very accurate portrayal of the father of a teenager on the spectrum. He is loving, supportive, confused, frustrated, and angry---sometimes all at once. It is obvious that he is doing the best that he can, especially since Christopher's mother played by the talented, Callie Alvanitakis is no longer part of their life.
Along with these four main characters are six other performers (Andrea Stephenson, Kerry Mowery, Mike Kirby, Rob Kopko, Lee McBride, and Lois Heagy) referred to as "the voices". These individuals play some of the smaller roles, act as a collective group in crowd scenes, and even embody props like a dishwasher.
The voices greatly enhance the tone of the show and help bring to light the way a non-neurotypical person might experience and make sense of his world. The set was abstract but creative. Two large screens on either side of the stage give us a clue as to where the dozens of brief scenes take place.
Dave Olmstead serves as both director and designer for this show. While I am impressed, I am not surprised. The vision of the show is extremely cohesive. I have seen this show on Broadway. Theater Harrisburg's version is different, but not inferior. The magic of theater is when different "cooks" can use the same basic ingredients and come up with two very different, but equally tasty "dishes".
Tickets and more information can be found at the Theatre Harrisburg Website.
P.S.---The Curious Incident is not unlike the very end of a typical Marvel Super-Hero movie. Enjoy!