Daniel Patrick Russell as Christopher
Teenager Christopher Boone (Daniel Patrick Russell), looking around one day, finds a (prop) dog that seems to have been killed and decides to play Sherlock Holmes to find out what happened.
This is the setup for the most intriguing, utterly engaging, occasionally shocking “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a musical play based on the novel by Mark Haddon and adapted by Simon Stephens. The show plays through March 3 at CCAE Theatricals in Escondido.
Fifteen-year-old Christopher isn’t like most other teens. Though very bright, he seems to have neuropsychological issues that lead him to perceive the world differently from most people, and therefore to act differently. He also has, as they say, “some behavioral difficulties,” which occasionally annoy his loving father Ed (Nathan Madden), with whom he lives. His mother Judy (played by Regina A. Fernandez) is dead (though she will show up later, in flashback).
There is a kindly teacher named Siobhan in his life (played wonderfully by Allison Spratt Pearce), who both acts as narrator and helps Christopher to translate the world.
Several other characters play multiple roles and several cast members also serve as set movers and scene changers. The whole presentation, directed by J. Scott Lapp, is a visual wonder in nonstop motion that will keep you as involved as young Christopher, and wanting to know what will happen next.
It’s a presentation of multiple realities in pretty much constant motion, sometimes movement in the usual sense, other times through the lens of a camera.
To emphasize the constant motion, there’s a section in which Christopher goes to the train station and has an amusing (and so familiar) time trying to find the right place to get on the train.
But it’s not just personalities we see and experience. There is also much choreography (by Natalie Iscovich), made better by the sound design itself (by Jon Fredette). And there’s lots of music (songs by Maxwell Transue). Oh, and a live puppy.
It’s the presentation itself that will keep you fascinated, but the characters and their relationships to each other that will send you home delighted to have visited Christopher’s world.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” plays through March 3, 2024 at the Center Theater at California Center for the Arts in Escondido (1276 Auto Park Way, Suite D #402).
Remaining performances are on Feb. 26 at 7:30 (Industry Night), Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m. (American Sign Language performance), March 1 at 7:30 p.m.; March 2 at 2 p.m. (Sensory Friendly Performance), March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m.
For tickets contact the box office: (442-304-0500) or firstname.lastname@example.org