Review: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”

While watching the 2015 Tony Awards, I was first introduced to the play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” which won 5 Tony awards, including best play. This play was based off the best-selling novel of the same name released in 2004 by author Mark Haddon. Because of the hype, I quickly binge-read the novel and was determined to go to New York to see the play. Unfortunately Alexander Sharp, Tony winner for his portrayal of the lead character, Christopher Boone, was no longer a part of the production, so I decided not to go. Fast forward to now, and I had the honor to see the National Theatre touring production that just finished their run at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This is a poster the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts had posted for "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time"
This is a poster the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts had posted for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” opens with Christopher Boone, a highly intelligent fifteen year old, finding his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, dead due to a pitchfork stab. Christopher makes it his mission to find out who murdered Wellington. Throughout his detective work Christoper writes a book chronicling his findings, manages to solve the mystery, and also discovers much more about his world and himself.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Playbill for "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time"
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Playbill for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”

It is never explicitly stated in the novel or play, but it is assumed that Christopher has Asperger Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism because of behavioral difficulties, people being “confusing” to Christopher, and him not wanting to be touched. Because of the first-person narrative approach, this masterpiece has allowed millions to get a glimpse of what life is like for Christopher, and others like him, who see the world differently. What was ground-breaking about this play was that the audience gets to see how Christopher experiences life. His literal and methodical approach is explicitly translated by all the black-and-white quadrant pattern screens on the stage walls, enabling Christopher to show his thought process to the audience.

John F. Kennedy's bust at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
John F. Kennedy’s bust at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The only complaint that I have about this show was that the sound was far too loud. Many in the audience were covering their ears. I do not know if the sound was intentionally boosted so audience members would understand that Christopher is sensitive to sound, if the theater was having sound issues, or if the sound was intensified because I saw a closed-captioned performance.

Other than that, I highly recommend seeing this excellent stage adaptation of the novel. If you are interested in seeing a unique story being told by endearing characters, unlike anything that has been on the stage before, do not miss this tour. For more information about the tour, hopefully coming to a city near you, please check out this link Curious Incident Tour Don’t forget to stay for the Easter Egg after the curtain call!

Content Advisory: Coarse language is used intermittently throughout the novel and the play.

Disclaimer: I purchased my own ticket to see this show, and the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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