‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ play review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
I’ve been waiting to see this play ever since I found out about it from an incident in 2013 where the roof of the theatre collapsed during a performance of this play and the audience thought that it was part of the show. When the play won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2013, I learned that the mystery is interesting and curious and that it is an innovative and visually dazzling production. I knew going in that the Arts Club production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time would be a great and entertaining play. After watching it, I’d say that it is the best play of this decade.
Based on the bestselling book by Mark Haddon, Christopher Boone (Adventures in Public School and Alex Strangelove’s Daniel Doheny) has autism and he lives with his father, Ed (Todd Thomson), because his mother, Judy (Jennifer Copping), passed away from a heart attack recently. Christopher likes math a lot and wants to be an astronaut. While he understands the things around him, he does not have the words to express them. When their neighbour’s dog, Wellington, is found murdered with a red garden fork, Christopher goes into detective work to solve the curious incident. As he gets more clues from interviewing various people around him, including strangers, more mysteries are created that must be solved.
During the play, Christopher’s assistant in school, Siobhan (Ghazal Azarbad), narrates the story and goes inside Christopher’s mind. The design of the set has space for projections that show what he is talking about and answer questions. The set is well-designed and shows the wonders of space, which matches Christopher’s fascination with it.
If you watch the play very carefully, you will probably figure out who murdered Wellington within 20 minutes of it. Throughout the play, almost every actor in it also plays other characters. For example, Arggy Jenati plays a lot of people who live in apartments. The choreography during the scenes when Christopher walks, which are mainly featured in Act II, are so good that the entire cast makes contemporary dance look cool. Everyone in the play is great; there are fantastic performances from Doheny and Azarbad, who both do an excellent job showing the relationship between a student and his assistant.
Like the characters that he played in Adventures in Public School and this play, Doheny is fascinated with space, and he likes Neil deGrasse Tyson and reads his books—which I found out when I had the chance to ask him a question during the Q&A after a Talkback Tuesday performance. When I asked the cast about the complexity of the mystery in the play, Micheal Querin, who plays Reverend Peters, said that the overture sounds like detective music and it sets a fun instead of serious mood, which makes the curious incident curious. The cast also talked about Christopher being lonely and how it affects his parents and him solving the mystery of who murdered Wellington.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a contemporary and technological play that shows a person who is different, doing things that others thought wasn’t possible. It is a show worth seeing. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is now playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until October 7.