THEATER: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” @ Proctors

November 28th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Greg
Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone and the touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone and the touring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

Review by Greg Haymes

Maybe my expectations were too high…

November’s been a brutally sad month emotionally, and I was looking for something uplifting. Something hopeful. Something to reaffirm my faith in mankind.

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But the National Theatre’s touring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” just didn’t do it for me. Perhaps the start of the play – a dead dog with a pitchfork stuck through him lying centerstage at Proctors – should have been a tip-off.

The acting was good, especially Adam Langdon in the crucial role of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old who has an unspecified autism-spectrum disorder. The character is the heart of Simon Stephens’ play, and the engine that drives the action as he attempts to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington, his neighbor’s dog.

Bunny Christie’s set design was magnificent – towering, hi-tech walls, often filled with projections that echoed the challenges faced by Christopher on his journey of self-discovery.

But as the journey – and the play – came to an end that was clearly intended to be uplifting, I didn’t feel that catharsis. I didn’t feel any better than when I walked into the theater. I only felt, well, disappointed.

SECOND OPINIONS:
Excerpt from Steve Barnes’ review at The Times Union: “Visually spellbinding, conceptually bold and emotionally powerful, the hit play ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ arrives at Proctors for its first local appearance during a week — sandwiched into four performance days around Thanksgiving— when many potential audience members have other obligations, but the show is worth making extraordinary, plans-changing efforts to see.”
Excerpt of Paul Lamar’s review at The Daily Gazette: “There is no denying the theatrical pleasures in the award-winning play ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.’ Jaw-dropping tech wizardry: lights, sounds, stage effects (rear-wall projections, glowing set pieces). The cast astounds, as well, with all but the lead assuming multiple parts, changing characters on a dime, and executing the thrilling choreography (though it is not a musical) of Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett, as if to the marley born. But when we come to the end of this long bildungsroman and the gift of atonement the father, Ed (Gene Gillette), gives to his son, Christopher (Adam Langdon in Wednesday night’s performance) — well, I felt slightly hornswoggled. After taking this psychological and physical journey, Christopher deserves more because he has become more. And, frankly, I still hadn’t gotten over Ed’s actions, revealed at the end of Act I.”

Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone and the touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone and the touring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”