“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a very curious story indeed, the award-winning play follows 15-year old Christopher Boone who has quite a unique personality. The highly intelligent teenager doesn’t comprehend emotions or understand the actions of others easily, making his daily interactions with the world around him more tumultuous than normally expected. One night Boone discovers that his neighbor’s dog has died under mysterious circumstances and he delves into an investigative journey that leads him to discover a lot more than he originally anticipated.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a show that cannot be missed
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is based on the 2003 novel penned by Mark Haddon. Haddon originally wrote the story with the belief that it could never be adapted for the stage due to Christopher’s complex personality, but a few years after “The Curious Incident” came out Haddon approached his friend and playwright Simon Stephens to finally bring the colorful story to life.
“He has a serious difficulty with life in that he really doesn’t empathize with other human beings,” said Haddon in a release. “He can’t read their faces. He can’t put himself in their shoes. And he can’t understand anything more than the literal meaning of whatever’s said to him.”
The show was an immediate hit after it opened in 2012 winning seven Olivier Awards, five Tony Awards including Best Play and was lauded as “a demonstration of the power of theater to transport us to exotic places” by Richard Zoglin from TIME Magazine.
It can be tough to imagine a story from the point of view of a character who doesn’t process emotions in a highly relatable way, but the Walnut Street Theater absolutely knocked it out of the park. The set is magnificent and unlike anything you have ever seen before- audiences truly delve into the mind of Christopher Boone through a magical set that uses projections and stage magic. The design and the use of props is incredible and adds another entertaining layer to an already impressive story.
18-year-old Austin Nedrow takes on the lead role of Christopher Boone, and his talent shines incredibly bright every second he is on stage. Nedrow makes Boone’s character likable, funny, daring and even adventurous- all while staying true to the character’s quirks and unique personality traits. Nedrow’s performance is quite stellar and his career is one to keep an eye on.
Walnut Street veterans Ian Merrill Peakes and wife, Karen Peakes also tackle major roles in the show playing Christopher’s parents. The couple shines on stage together and wraps audiences into the world of the Boone family adding the emotional necessity that Christopher’s character does not possess. The rest of the cast is full of seasoned Philly stage pros including Greg Wood, Susan Riley Stevens, Sarah Gliko, Dan Hodge, Justin Lujan and Jane Ridley; even though they are not always front and center during the show the ensemble truly makes “The Curious Incident” immensely special.
Director Bill Van Horn has assembled all of the variables of the stage show magnificently. The use of props, cast, stage magic and timing is so intricate and exact you can’t help but awe when you sit in the audience and see the impressive work of art unfold on stage. It’s quirky, funny, heartwrenching yet heartwarming, relatable yet unlike anything you’ve ever seen- truly a show that cannot and should not be missed.
If you go: Now- April 28, times vary, 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia, prices vary, walnutstreettheatre.org