BWW Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Denver Center For The Performing Arts
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a five time Tony Award winning play by Simon Stephens that is based on the novel by Mark Haddon. The play follows a very gifted teenage boy as he is met with life challenges that change his perceptions of the relationships in his life and his concepts of the world.
The play opens with the death of a neighbor's dog. Devastated by the mysterious death of his beloved friend and accused of committing the crime himself, Christopher Boone played by Adam Langdon, began digging into the events that led up to the tragic event. He meets a wide variety of different people through his investigation and eventually uncovers a dark secret that he never expects.
Adam Landon's performance as Christopher Boone brought to the stage a charisma and vivacity that immediately drew the audience into the mind set of such a brilliant young boy. From his body language to his choice of speech pattern he completely embodied the life force of such a unique human. While we watched Adam Landon deliver lines with a steely intelligence he is contrasted by the other members of the cast who express a warmth and empathy the main character lacks.
Colorado native Gene Gillette who played Ed Boone/Ensemble gave an incredibly moving performance as the father of Christopher Boone. As the audience, from the glimpses we catch of this man's life, we are shown a character who, much unlike his son, makes choices based on emotions. Gillette who provided a grounded presence to the stage, added a layer of reality to a play that was presented from the perspective of an individual's mind.
Ensemble members were able to show off many different facets of their talents by moving into different roles and even from time to time becoming props. These individuals gracefully carried the task of bringing to the physical world what Christopher is thinking and feeling.
The set for the production, designed by Bunny Christie, presented as simple at first glance but once utilized became a complex work, seamlessly moving between settings and providing an interactive space for props and actors. Another interesting technical aspect was the use of videos to further illustrate the workings of Christopher's mind. Designed by Finn Ross, the use of video pulled what is usually internal to the outside and created a presentation for the eye.
While the show was excellent in its individual elements, I felt the show as a whole was hard to relate to. Perhaps I came into the production with too high of expectations but I didn't feel as moved as I had been told I would be. To me, the story line seemed to be a little too one-sided and many of the characters were left as one dimensional. I also have not read the novel and maybe didn't have that emotional foundation to truly connect with the content.
Overall, I believe the play is a thought-provoking night of theater. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time runs through June 18th in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Ticket prices start at $30 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (800)641-1222 or visiting their website: denvercenter.org.
Photo Credit: DCPA Press