Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ****

Not since “War Horse” have I seen a play whose success owed so much to its production design. What set and costume designer Bunny Christie, video designer Finn Ross and, especially, lighting designer Paule Constable have accomplished is no less than to provide a visual analog of the mind of a 15-year old autistic boy with a talent for mathematics. This is not to denigrate the considerable accomplishments of Simon Stephens in adapting Mark Haddon’s award-winning book, of Marianne Elliott for so skillfully directing the play, and of the superb cast for bringing its characters to vivid life. Alex Sharp is remarkable as Christopher Boone, the boy who gets more than he bargained for when he sets out to discover who killed the neighbor’s dog. Ian Banford is excellent as his loving, but often misguided father. Enid Graham shines as the mother worn down by the difficulties of raising Christopher. Francesca Faridany is convincing as his sympathetic teacher Siobhan who helps him navigate his daily challenges and persuades him to write this story. Her reading of the story aloud serves as the narration that brings us in to the play. Stephens has remained quite faithful to the original text. Dialect coach Ben Furey has made the American cast sound convincingly British. I would not have believed that a book that is primarily based on Christopher’s inner thoughts could be brought so vibrantly to the stage. It is easy to understand how it won the Olivier for Best Play. NOTE: Be sure not to rush out the theater right after the curtain calls or you'll miss a treat. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes including intermission.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You and Ben loved it. I thought it was too long as they went completely by the book. For me, three stars.

Robert Sholiton said...

I did think they got a bit carried away showing off all their technical wonders for too long during his trip to London.