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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

Photo by Rose Weldon, ’19.

National tour of acclaimed play stops in Philadelphia

        After charming audiences on Broadway for two years, the Tony-winning play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” has begun its first U.S. national tour, which stops at the Academy of Music in Center City this week.

        Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon, “Curious Incident” follows 15-year-old Christopher Boone, a young man living with his father in Swindon, Wiltshire, South West England. When he is accused of killing his neighbor’s dog, Christopher decides to take on the case himself. This is a difficult task, considering he has a hard time registering facial expressions and emotions, but mainly trusts facts and logic, all of which he must face as he ventures out into the world for the first time.

        It may seem like a relatively simple story, but what makes “Curious Incident” unique  is the incredible visual storytelling through the set design, visual effects, and audio effects, all of which contribute to showing the audience how Christopher sees the world. The stage is dominated by a large cube, and actors continually pull props and the like from the many square boxes within the cube. Aspects of light are played with, and sometimes the only light source on stage is Christopher’s own flashlight.

        What also helps in making the production unique is the acting. Of particular note here is Christopher’s portrayer, the wonderful Adam Langdon, who imbues his performance with a childlike curiosity and desire to challenge. Langdon’s incredible physicality, as well as that of the rest of the ensemble, also contributes to the visual storytelling aspects of the production.         

        Above all, though, “Curious Incident” is a story of a childlike mind being made to understand adult relationships and emotions for the first time. Other than the “murder mystery,” as Christopher calls it, the main focus of the play is his relationships with his distraught father, Ed (Gene Gillette) and his patient teacher Siobhan (Elena Maria Ramirez), as he reflects on the time he spent with his mother Judy (Felicity Jones Latta), before her sudden disappearance.

        If there is anywhere where the production falls short, however, it would most likely be in the play’s admittedly sappy ending. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a little too good to be true, and is the only part of the play where I found myself questioning the realism.

As for my own thoughts, I came into the production totally blind, having only heard the play’s title before seeing it. What I saw was pleasant, funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting at the same time. The play and those who produced it have succeeded where few others have: they have created a story that could happen anywhere, infused with an air of wonder and fantasy.

          “Curious Incident” is a wonderful and near-magical experience for any fan (or non-fan, for that matter) of theater. It’s a story that deserves to be seen by anyone and everyone.

        “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is playing at the Academy of Music from March 1 to March 5.


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