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Play Review: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the Ahmanson – LAWestMedia.com (registration) (blog)

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeL-R: Maria Elena Ramirez as Siobhan, Gene Gillette as Ed (rear) and Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone in the touring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which will be presented by Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre August 2 through September 10, 2017. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 972-4400. Media Contact: [email protected][1] / (213) 972-7376.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Once in a while, a play comes down the theatrical pike that dazzles all the senses. From Mark Haddon’s multiple award-winning book comes the stage version of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Magnificently adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens and masterfully directed by Marianne Elliott, the play is a spectacular theatrical ride.

The confusion in young Christopher’s brain (Adam Langdon) is seen through the haunting video design by Finn Ross.

The storyline revolves around 15-year-old Christopher Boone, a young man with autism played by Adam Langdon, who delivers a spellbinding, mesmerizing performance. Our protagonist has a brilliant mathematical mind, capable of comprehending the most complex equations but cannot navigate some of the most ordinary aspects of life, including never touching or being touched by a human being.

Touching is verboten, even by his parents, as such an innocent social act could catapult him into a screaming fit at which point he would roll up into the fetal position, or beat his head with his fists, or recite a solution to a complicated mathematical problem.

Adam Langdon as Christopher, with the ensemble, discovers hidden letters written by his mother.

Christopher’s life is turned upside down when he discovers that his neighbor’s dog Wellington has been stabbed with a pitchfork. The only living creature, besides his pet rat, with whom he is able to make physical contact, he becomes outraged making it his life’s mission to find the culprit. His autism does not allow for guile or any indirect method of communicating so he is blunt in questioning his neighbors asking: “Did you kill Wellington?” An officer investigating the murder touches Christopher who immediately strikes him.

Later when being questioned by another officer because of his “assault,” the young man says he isn’t sorry because the officer touched him. It should be noted that his innocent directness injects much humor into the proceedings. Understanding his boundaries in dealing with his son, Christopher’s dad, tenderly played by Gene Gillette, tells him that his mother had a heart attack and died.

This is yet another trauma for this gifted but handicapped young man to deal with as despite the lacking of physical touching, he loved his mother very much. By and by he discovers letters from his mother that his father has hidden from him. It turns out she is indeed alive and well and living in London with Mr.

Shears, husband of their neighbor Mrs. Shears, and owner of the deceased Wellington. So, despite his handicap, Christopher decides to take a train to London and his hair-raising adventure begins.

Amelia White as neighbor Mrs.

Alexander with Adam Langdon as the autistic Christopher Boone.

The train station scene is only one example of Tony Award-winner Finn Ross’ mind-blowing video design seen throughout the play. It is in this particular sequence that we truly see, through the hundreds of floating, intermingling images, the confusion inside his complex brain as he tries to make sense of the overwhelming chaos in dealing with something as ordinary as a train schedule. Eventually, despite the physical and mental restrictions inherent in his autism, Christopher does find his mother and there is a most fascinating raison-d’?tre.

Director Elliott has put together a sterling professional supporting cast, which includes Maria Elena Ramirez as his teacher Siobhan, Amelia White as the cookie-bearing neighbor, and Felicity Jones Latta as the mom. In addition to the superb acting, this production comes to life through an extraordinarily imaginative production team, which in addition to Finn Ross, also includes production design by Tony Award winner Bunny Christie, lighting by Tony Award winner Paule Constable, choreography by Scott Graham and Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, music by Adrian Sutton, and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph.

Gene Gillette as Christopher’s dad Ed and Adam Langdon as his son Christopher make tentative physical contact for the first time.

Under Elliot’s acute direction, we witness a more “abstract” style of theatre where the actors use “sense memory”* to create objects, with small set pieces rearranged by the actors to signify a location. Occasionally one of the actors is actually used as a set piece such as a chair or a couch.

Brilliant, brilliant stagecraft. There is a reason why “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” became the longest-running play on Broadway in 10 years, winning five Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards, and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play. The reason?

This is a highly stylized, engaging play that will connect with all your senses – a theatrical, life-affirming experience that you absolutely should not miss. P.S. Be sure not to leave after the curtain call, as there is yet another exciting surprise awaiting you.

**Sense memory: Using one’s imagination to create an unseen object or feeling. Ahmanson Theatre[2]
135 N. Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012
Run: Tuesday – Friday: 8:00 pm Saturday: 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm Sunday: 1:00 pm & 6:30 pm
Tickets: £25-£130 213.972.4400 or www.CenterTheatreGroup.org[3]
Closing: September 10, 2017

Summary

Play Review:

Article Name Play Review: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the Ahmanson Description

Once in a while, a play comes down the theatrical pike that dazzles all the senses. From Mark Haddon’s multiple award-winning book comes the stage version of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Magnificently adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens and masterfully directed by Marianne Elliott, the play is a spectacular theatrical ride. Author

Beverly Cohn, special contributor to LAWestMedia.com

References

  1. ^ [email protected] (lawestmedia.com)
  2. ^ Ahmanson Theatre (www.centertheatregroup.org)
  3. ^ www.CenterTheatreGroup.org (www.centertheatregroup.org)

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