Performing Arts: Theater
October 28, 2014
Inventive stagecraft communicates a universe of complex emotions in the outstanding Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh-Time. How a story about an autistic child translates into a blockbuster Broadway show is a lesson in simplicity. Basically, the production is stripped bare so the words resonate in the atmosphere of suspicion, care and anxiety.

In one of those grand Broadway events, Alex Sharp, a recent Juilliard graduate was plucked from a pack of applicants to play the demanding lead role of the autistic but intellectually brilliant Christopher Boone.

Expertly directed by Marianne Elliott, the intimate cast breathes as one, which solidifies the production’s creative momentum. Contrary to his nature, Christopher is determined to find out why the next-door neighbor’s dog was murdered, embarking on a detective journey that unearths disturbing family secrets. Generally unable to socialize, the inept young man forces himself to interview neighbors on the block to flush out the facts and ultimately the killer.

Serving as a link between Christopher and the world, stands his highly intuitive “special needs” teacher Siobhan, the marvelous Francesca Faridany. Upon learning of his steely determination, Siobhan suggests he writes an action log. The detailed, daily chronicle helps organize his information and form the template for a class play.

To illustrate Christopher’s physical and intellectual journey, the stage floor and sides are covered in a Sol LeWitt style grid that more effectively than any full-blown set establishes concrete interiors and exteriors. In the process, Christopher travels from the safe confines of his neighborhood to the terrifying chaos of the city.

Physically and emotionally demanding, the play adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddons’s novel is a marvel of ensemble acting lead by an inspired single performer.
EYEON THE ARTS, NY --Celia Ipiotis

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