The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time LA Review - Anything is Possible

Are you ready to see the world through the eyes of an autistic teenager? Then you are ready to join in THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Appearing first as a book in 2003, the novel won numerous awards, including the Whitebread Book of the Year, the Commonwealth Prize for First Book, and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime award given by a panel of children’s authors. English author Mark Haddon’s first works were children’s books, with THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME his first adult novel. Interestingly, his publishers chose to offer the book for both child and adult audiences – and it won awards in both categories.

Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone - Photo by Joan Marcus

Playwright Simon Stephens adapted THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME into a play which premiered in March 2013 in London. It ran on Broadway for two years and won the Tony Award for Best New Play in 2015. Following its debut, the drama was translated into Hebrew for Israeli audiences, into Spanish for Mexican audiences, and into other languages across the world.

Adam Langdon (center) and cast of touring production - Photo by Joan Marcus

Christopher Boone (Adam Langdon) is a 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioral difficulties.” He can’t stand to be touched, and he perceives the world in his own idiosyncratic way, easily succumbing to stimulus overload. Christopher is writing a book about his life which he terms “a murder-mystery novel.” He comes to our attention when his neighbor’s dog Wellington is killed with a garden fork - and police suspect that he might be the perpetrator.  

Gene Gillette and Adam Langdon - Photo by Joan Marcus

Protesting his innocence, Christopher decides to investigate the dog’s murder – much to the discomfort of his father (Gene Gillette), who wants him to “mind his own business.” In the course of his investigation, unexpected secrets begin to emerge; and his life begins to unravel. As he interviews a neighbor he never spoke to before, he finds out that his mother may have had a lover, the husband of the dog’s owner. When his enraged father hides the novel he is writing, Christopher extends the search into his own home – and discovers letters written to him by his mother (Felicity Jones Latta) after he was told that she had died. With a current London address.

Adam Langdon and Maria Elena Ramirez - Photo by Joan Marcus

Most of the dozen cast member play multiple roles as Christopher’s odyssey involves more and more places and people – but Christopher is clearly the principal. Talented Adam Langdon does an excellent job of portraying a boy who is different and often doesn’t fit in. Conveying the pain and hope of his parents, Felicity Jones Latta and Gene Gillette do a bang-up job. The entire ensemble works effectively and smoothly to tell the tale of a bright but troubled youngster who is trying to make sense of a senseless world. Director Marianne Elliott has helmed this complex production with skill, adeptly mixing the serious with the humorous.

Adam Langdon (top center) and cast of touring production - Photo by Joan Marcus

But there is another star in the production – the stage where the goings-on happen. Bunny Christie’s scenic and costume design, Paule Constable’s lighting, and Finn Ross’ video design allow the audience to step right into Christopher’s world. In no small part, choreography by Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly plays a major role in the show. It soon becomes obvious that there is no up-and-down or even gravity in the world as seen through Christopher’s eyes.

Amelia White and Adam Langdon - Photo by Joan Marcus

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is an unusual production. While it may be a bit long for its simple story – and while the Ahmanson stage might be a bit large for this relatively small, personal tale – it is still an intriguing and creative piece which should appeal to most audiences. Frequent injections of humor should add to this involving entertainment.

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME runs through September 10, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. The Ahmanson Theatre is located in the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tickets range from $25 to $130. For information and reservations, call 213-972-4400 or go online

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