|Unconditional love is fully explored in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Mar 28, 2019 10:30am | comments
The Tony-Award winning Best Play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, is now onstage at Philadelphia’s historic Walnut Street Theatre until April 28.
Based upon Mark Haddon’s 2003 award-winning book of the same name, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (the title refers to a line from a Sherlock Holmes short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), was turned into a play in 2012 with the help of Simon Stephens. It then won seven Olivier Awards. A year later, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time transferred to Broadway, where it won five Tony Awards including Best Play. Bill Van Horn directs this Walnut Street Theatre production.
The plot involves the death of a dog, and the fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone’s resolve to find the culprit. We are led to draw the conclusion some time into the play that Christopher is a special-needs child who attends a special-needs school. Christopher then discovers another mystery which leads him to leave his suburban London home and travel to London. The audience learns what challenges he faces doing this and along the way the challenges those who must care for him face every minute of every day of every week of every month of every year. We see the superhuman patience required of his parents, and the heartbreaking realization that their lives, relationships, and careers will never be their own but always in service to their son, his needs, and his safety. Police are often present since Christopher is prone to public moaning, shouting, argumentative behaviors, wetting himself in public, dropping to the floor in even the busiest public places, lashing out when touched, and the occasional wielding of a Swiss-army-knife blade towards several people Christopher deems will hurt him.
Austin Nedrow is Christopher Boone, and he is magnificent in the role. Indeed, the young Mr. Nedrow is the main reason to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, since he brings tears to the eyes in his perpetual life struggles alone and in his relationships with the world and the adults around him. We cheer for him to succeed, and with the totally loving adults around him, who have a patience and fortitude to test that of the Biblical Job, we feel that he will. The adults around him are a starry lot. The Walnut Street Theatre managed to engage some of the most talented actors in even the smallest supporting roles. As Ed Boone, Christopher’s father, Ian Merrill Peakes, recently played a superlative Miss Crunchbull in the wonderful production here of Matilda the Musical. Karen Peakes, Mr. Peakes’ wife in real life, plays his estranged stage spouse Judy Boone. Another pair of married actors, Greg Wood and Susan Riley Stevens play multiple characters in the Ensemble. Alicia Roper is Siobhan, Christopher’s teacher who acts as the narrator as well as in the ensemble. Completing the cast in the Ensemble are the esteemed Dan Hodge, Sarah Gliko, Justin Lujan, and Jane Ridley.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is an important play dealing with a topic which some people may shy away from, and for many good reasons. Many in the audience over age 50 were brought up not to stare at and to ignore people like Christopher. We’ve come a long way since To Kill a Mockingbird’s Boo Radley, locked away in the attic. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is thought-provoking theatre which will bring tears to your eyes and hope into your heart by great writing realized by a phenomenal cast.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is part of the Walnut Street Theatre’s 210th season. It will be onstage at their beautiful, historic theatre located at 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, until April 28th. For more information about this play and the remaining plays of this season, visit www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org .