Thursday, June 22, 2017

reviews - THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NITE-TIME - National Tour: ASU Gammage

Adam Langdon
photo by Joan Marcus
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through June 25th.

"...The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tells of young Christopher Boone (Adam Langdon). He’s a fifteen-year-old English boy from Swindon with a series of conditions...his behavioral difficulties range from Asperger’s and high-functioning autism, plus he’s a mathematical savant. There’s also another issue: he can’t be touched....Christopher takes on the role of Sherlock Holmes after the discovery of his own curious incident concerning a dog...His neighbor’s pet, Wellington, is found murdered...Based on the Mark Haddon novel of the same name,....we’re inside Christopher’s mind – we tend to see the same things in the way that Christopher does.....the play’s original London director Marianne Elliot, incorporates the aid of choreographers Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett to supply the ever-continuing graceful movement of the cast as they assume grouped positions and characterize everyday objects that Christopher encounters. ...However, during a lengthy, heart-breaking moment when the boy’s mother (Felicity Jones Latta) has to explain things to her son, things seem to come to a temporary halt. Narratively, what she’s saying is of great importance, but because of the play’s lightning speed pace, it feels as though brakes were suddenly applied. With a broken rhythm, the result may be a wandering mind for just a few moments...Presented in an electronic variation of a black-box theatre, its floor and walls project a dazzling array of sonic effects. ...Occasionally there’s a danger of the light show, with its all-encompassing visual effects, suffocating the moment, often with an accompanying, overly abrasive soundtrack that pierces the senses and continues longer than you want, particularly when it’s not altogether clear why the effects with its shower of ever-flowing red dots are occurring in the way they are. ...the play examines routine, customs, separation, honesty, the playing with language and most importantly, the confusion that comes with miscommunication in everyday speech. If everyone was as clear and as direct as Christopher when speaking, there would never be a failure to communicate. The play expresses that with both warmth and humor, along with the drama...While Wellington the dog did nothing to deserve its fate, it’s the catalyst that sets a young boy off on a journey of self-discovery, his position in the world, and an awareness of what his future holds. A curious incident indeed, Watson, but a singular one that you should treat yourself to enjoying while it remains in town." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)


"..,the theatrical adaptation of Mark Haddon's bestselling book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ...demonstrates the inner workings of the brain of a 15-year-old boy with issues that resemble autism through a combination of visual and aural designs and the use of imaginatively choreographed movement..,, a play unlike just about anything I've ever seen and a show not to be missed. The plot focuses on Christopher Boone and begins when his neighbor's dog is found viciously murdered. Christopher sets about trying to solve the murder of the animal while also dealing with understanding and navigating through the wide range of human emotions and family dynamics that his unique situation entails. Christopher, who always tells the truth, soon discovers that what he learns from his investigation reveals several secrets and lies that involve his family and the life he thought he knew. ..,The concise and straightforward language and the well-defined characters are delivered and portrayed exceptionally by a talented touring cast. Yet it is through the explosion of sight and sound that the book is truly brought to life by immersing the audience in non-stop visual elements that take us inside Christopher's mind. The combination of the gifted cast and the creative designs gives a unique glimpse into how a person's inability to understand human emotion might affect the people who love them.Marianne Elliott won a Tony for her direction and it's easy to see why. Elliott's ability to guide her cast—especially Adam Langdon, who is nothing short of brilliant—as Christopher, to deliver performances that are real, interesting, and full of emotion, and then surround it all with the immersive, creative and accomplished Tony and Olivier Award winning work of set designer Bunny Christie, video designer Finn Ross, and lighting designer Paule Constable, is both inspired and brilliant.... This is a truly engaging, rich and rewarding play with a thought-provoking insight into what an individual with such challenges might go through on a daily basis and what the impact on those who love them might be. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time lets you step into this world and see the beauty and wonder that lives inside.-Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

" If you could walk a mile in the mind of an autistic teenager, visualize the earth and the heavens with crystal clarity, reduce reality to fundamental truths and solve complex algebraic problems, convulse to a simple touch or sound, and charm the daylights out of those you meet with your intelligence and defiant logic ~ you might begin to get inside the skin of Christopher John Francis Boone, the enigmatic and endearing central character of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME (the 2015 recipient of five Tonys including Best Play, now appearing at ASU Gammage in Tempe, AZ).....a landmark piece of theatre, melding acting and technology with a result that is astonishing and riveting. The special visual and auditory effects are cinematic in scale...What starts out like a tale from Conan Doyle or J.K. Rowlings ends up far more Homeric, an odyssey into the heart of truth and revelations that are life-changing. Adam Langdon's performance as Christopher is a tour de force ~ magnetic, jaw-dropping and inspiring.....The supporting performances in this production are crisp and engaging. Gene Gillette cuts a sympathetic figure as Christopher's overbearing and protective father, desperately seeking to connect with his son...FeliciTy Jones Latta is gripping as the mother whose frustration and guilt tear at her heart. Maria Elena Ramirez is perfect and relatable as Christopher's teacher who understands him better than anyone, provides moral support, and, as a play within a play, narrates the book he's written about his journey. As an intricately designed whole, the play, based on Mark Haddon's novel and adapted by Simon Stephens, is a work of astonishing magnitude and supreme relevance to our appreciation of the human condition." Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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