BWW Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Round House Theatre
'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' at Bethesda's Round House Theatre, tells the story of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy with Aspergers syndrome, whose neighbor's dog is murdered with a pitchfork. Christopher goes on a mission to investigate who killed the dog and he ends up uncovering other people's secrets, as well as his own. He goes on an unintentional mission of self-discovery through London and Swindon
'Curious Incident' was written by Simon Stephens for the stage and originally based on Mark Haddon's award winning 2003 book of the same name. The stage adaption of 'Curious Incident' has had its share so far of winning the highest awards given to a play. It premiered in London, 2013 receiving an Olivier award for best new play and received a Tony award for best play in 2015. It is receiving one of its first regional productions at the newly renovated Round House theatre in Bethesda.
Director Ryan Rillete does a good job of engaging the audience in an especially immersive experience, with live animals, state of the art projections, sound, and lighting. He has Christopher Boone, Harrison Bryan, interact with the audience as if they were close friends and confidants. Christopher even plunges into the audience climbing under peoples' feet to save his pet rat Toby . The Choreography during the sequence where Harrison is pondering upon going to space and being free from the world is done by Orange Grove Dance. It shows a playfulness to his character and reminds everyone that he is a kid with a massive imagination and a fondness for space.
This production showcases great acting from the supporting characters, mainly Christopher's parents (Cody Nickell and Tonya Beckman) and his teacher at school (Tessa Klein) these are the characters who give Christopher the help and care he needs in his life. He begins to learn that the people taking care of him seem to have very complicated lives. Things are not as simple as they should be.
The projection design by Jared Mezzocchi, transports the audience into other worlds and universes as well as explaining an entire math exam question. The projections are not limited to the screens that they are mainly projected onto, throughout the show, projections are a tool for moving the story along and Christopher follows a red line on the floor that takes him to all lengths of the stage and the projections bounce off the barren set occupied by scores of white boxes. The scenic design is by Paige Hathaway and makes use of simple but effective chemistry between the projections and the actual set. The projections are as important to the actual set as the physical one in this particular show, as they are interacted with on a seemingly physical basis. They effortlessly bind the show together into a unique and seamless train of thought experience.
Melissa Flaim, who worked as the dialect coach on this production, did a good job of coaching the actors on the Swindon and London dialect work needed to immerse the audience into another country. The actors all seemed to have worked hard on getting each and every syllable to work towards the setting of the show.
Run Time: Two hours and 35 minutes, with one 15 minute intermission.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is playing until December 22, 2019, at Bethesda's Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda MD. For tickets, you can call (240) 528-7822 or go online for tickets and ticket information