Rep Opener Takes Quantum Leap With Stunning “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time”

dog-fatherson

Jimmy Kieffer and Nick LaMedica in “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Just days after the sad news that Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Artistic Director Steven Woolf will retire in two years, one of the most impressive plays he has ever produced hits the boards with the Simon Stephens Tony winner, “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.” This look at a brilliant teen who dazzles with his complicated mind but can’t handle day to day social situations is a totally immersive play that draws us into his world with innovative staging and a powerful cast.

dog-train

Cast members of “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” overwhelm Christopher at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Marcia Milgrom Dodge is director and choreographer even though this show is not a musical. But the ensemble cast play several roles and, in the mind of 15-year old Christopher Boone, his interactions with them ranges from friendly to hostile to outright fear. She shuttles the cast around the stage in often dizzying fashion and in the midst of it all, Christopher is often overwhelmed but never loses his focus on finding the real killer of his neighbor’s dog (he has been accused) and his reality of taking an early (for his age) test of the A-levels- the British equivalent of the SAT’s. No surprises here when the test results are revealed. Dodge is able to translate this unusual world of a budding genius into a frenzied but beautiful, whirling dance of a complicated mind.

dog-ladder

Nick LaMedica as Christopher works out math problems during the Rep’s production of “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.” Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Nick LaMedica is nothing short of brilliant as Christopher. His confidence in himself is front and center yet he is constantly stunned and amazed at what is going on about him. With a healthy dose of sarcasm and determination, he tackles the obstacles in his way as overwhelming events unfold about his family, neighbors and the painful trip he must take to London. The story draws you in but it is the reactions and emotions this young man goes through in his journey that makes you care so much about this play.

dog-onchair

Nick LaMedica and the cast of “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” at the Rep. Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Jimmy Kieffer is outstanding as Christopher’s father. He tries to protect his son but it appears that he may have ulterior motives in keeping the biggest secret from him. Amy Blackman also shines as his mother who has also been duped in this heart breaking scenario. Kathleen Wise serves as a mentor and narrator to the story as she drives the plot along while observing Christopher’s problems and various encounters.

dog-lights

Nick LaMedica and the ensemble in the Rep’s production of “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.” Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

The ensemble cast joins in with good work by Laiona Michelle as several characters including the next door neighbor and Kevin Cutts as her ex-husband who helps turn the crux of the plot. Michael Baxter, Nathan B. Williams, Ka-Ling Cheung and Dale Hodges round out the cast who do yeoman work creating characters and keeping the mind of Christopher turning at hectic speed.

The Narelle Sissons set design is stunning and a bit overwhelming itself. Combined with the Matthew Richards lighting design, it makes for a visual feast to compare with the beautiful story unfolding on stage. Leon Wiebers costumes are effective with the odd item here and there combining to handle a cast of characters with just a handful of actors. David Bullard’s sound design also adds to the shock value of the play.

dog-pitchfork

Laiona Michelle and Nick LaMedica in “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

“The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” is a curious story that comes from the original, stunning novel by Mark Haddon. He never thought the story could be translated to film or the stage but playwright Simon Stephens cleverly treats it as a play, a mind-bending experience and a diary of Christopher’s life. And he’s got a Tony to prove his instincts were right. Catch this beautiful, powerful and heart-wrenching experience at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through October 1st. Call them at 314-968-4925 and get in on the fun and creative mind-boggling experience that is “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.”

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: