(Spoiler Alert: This review contains details and surprises from the Broadway Production)
On April 1st, two middle school literacy groups travelled to the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway to view A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Both literacy groups finished the book and all appreciated the story about Christopher, a boy with autism, who attempts to solve the murder of his neighbor’s dog. The adaptation of Mark Haddon’s awe inspiring novel contains a high tech, visually stunning set which perfectly captures Christopher’s world. The massive array of blinking lights works in perfect harmony with the story, revealing how Christopher experiences the world. The stage itself is an intricate grid of surprises that moves and changes according to what Christopher is thinking. Hidden compartments containing a variety of boxes line the walls and Christopher has to grab the correct one and assemble its contents properly around the stage. The way the characters interact with the props throughout the play is mesmerizing, switching objects left and right in the blink of an eye with astounding precision.
The students and teachers had numerous favorite scenes, many of which were connected to the impressive set and props. Throughout the first act the audience watches as Christopher interacts with characters while playing with a toy train set. As the intensity of events mounts he begins working more and more feverishly and frantically, leading to the point when Christopher decides he must travel to London to find his mother. It is only then that we realize that all the tracks he’s been creating during the first act connect and symbolize the journey he is about to take. As the curtain falls on the first act the toy train comes to life and begins to travel along the tracks of Christopher’s creation. Other special effects that the group appreciated were the appearance of an escalator which grew out of the wall and the dramatic scene where Christopher searches the train tracks for his pet rat as the tube is entering the station. Many of us felt our favorite part was the cameo by the adorable puppy late in the show.
When the show ended we were in for another surprise. Jeremiah, who also attended the trip, had arranged for us to go backstage and meet the stage manager and the lead actor who played the role of Christopher! We were very excited, patiently waiting next to the stage door when Geena Davis strolled in to meet the cast. Mark was very excited to see her. (Most of us did not know who she was until we Googled her the next day). The stage manager then brought us on the magnificent stage and answered the myriad of questions we had about the production. While we were talking, Taylor Trensch, the actor who played Christopher, joined us and we all took pictures with him.
A Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime was an amazing production, and highly recommended by MMFS students. We all enjoyed the play immensely. There was a lot to take away from it, and we all left pondering the implications of the last scene. After Christopher aces his math exam he is infused with a huge sense of accomplishment and says to his teacher, “I can do anything … Can’t I?” The stage dramatically goes dark, leaving the audience to answer the question for themselves.
This was an experience we won’t soon forget and we recommend the book and the play A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime to all.
Scott, Nicky, Oliver, Zach, Charlie, Emma, Augie, Ayanbi, Alex, Bear, and Russell