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It starts with a dead dog and the title of a book I’d heard before but never read. I took my seat to see the stage adaption of a novel that has been sitting under my bed since middle school: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The show follows a fifteen year old boy on the autism spectrum named Christopher. Christopher knows all the countries in the world and their capitals, hates the color yellow, and is determined to find the murderer of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington. We not only follow Christopher as he solves the mystery, we follow the people around him who are trying to find the best way to exist with Christopher and the inevitable challenges they’ll face together. Having been completely unaware of anything but the plot, I came into the Orpheum theater with excitement and with zero expectations. Needless to say, I couldn’t stop smiling as the final bows were taken. This show was electric, heartbreaking, real, and like something I’d never seen.

After ten minutes, it’s clear that Adam Langdon, who took on the role of Christopher, was immensely talented and accurate in his portrayal of someone with autism. He was vibrant, exciting and engaging to watch. He made it easy to see that Christopher was more than just a boy with autism, which was what I feared I would see coming into the show. He was funny, intelligent, and kind. This carried into every character that came in contact with Christopher, too. The relationship I found most heartbreaking was Christopher and his father, played by Gene Gillette. It showed the realness of living with someone with autism. The realness made the audience slightly uncomfortable, which is exactly what I think great theater that deals with real issues should do. This show does not hold back, it does not sugar-coat, and it does not lie about the challenges of autism. This is truly the thing that will make this show stick with me.

Aside from the acting, technical aspects of this show are something that made me sit in awe. The lighting designer, Paul Constable, illuminated the way Christopher’s brain worked, giving us another way to try and understand what he thinking. The projections on the black walls of the set helped take us into Christopher’s mind when he’d think about space, how to walk through London, and how he worked out the clues to find Wellington’s killer. When things would get too much for Christopher, it was reflected in warped projections and flashing lights surrounding him on the stage. There wasn’t a moment that I couldn’t tell what Christopher was feeling.

If I could, I’d see this show again and again. It left me frantically scribbling in my notebook about the countless amazing moments I needed to remember, although I don’t think I’ll be forgetting this production any time soon. Please go and buy tickets to The National Theatre’s brilliant production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. You will not regret it and you will not forget it.

Views: 31

Comment by Leo Driessen on December 1, 2016 at 10:21am

Hey Bella! It's your buddy Leo. Sorry we never connected at Curious, but let's try to find each other at the next show. Your review really got into the specifics of the acting, so really good job with that. Overall, this is great writing, so I'm just nitpicking. Try to make sure your tense stays consistent throughout the piece. Your language could be even more descriptive if you add little details about the show that the reader wouldn't expect. When you talk about your own experience, it's kind of scattered, so try to focus it so that it's interesting to the reader.

Comment by Bella West on December 3, 2016 at 1:41pm
Thank you!! I appreciate the feedback!
Comment by Laura Wyatt on December 3, 2016 at 2:15pm

Bella, 

This is an awesome review! First of all, I like that your vocabulary is much more extensive than "good" or "great." By branching out with your adjectives, it adds so much to your writing, so kudos on that! I agree with Leo that your tenses could be more consistent, but that's a super nitpicky thing. I look forward to watching were your writing goes this year! 

Comment by Dudley Voigt on December 4, 2016 at 7:12pm

I like that you offer us a glimpse into your personal experience, using that as bookends works.  Given Leo's comment, how could you use that lens to support your overall argument as well?  It works best for me in the opening and again at the end, but in the middle i think is where it muddies your descriptions.  How could you keep that personal angle while still giving the reader everything they need to decide if they should see the show?

Good job!

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