Written by 4:17 am Anaheim, Review, The Chance Theater, Theater, Uncategorized

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time @ Chance Theater – Review

Photo by Doug Catiller

Written by Zack Johnston

Simon Stephens’ award-winning adaption of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon continues to inspire audiences with its touching story of a boy’s journey through an ever-complicated world. Chance Theater’s production, directed by Darryl B. Hovis, is one of those experiences that simply has to be seen to be fully understood. It is a captivating display of theatrical storytelling, exploring the all too familiar theme of broken trust.

Story:

Christopher Boone is a 15-year-old living in Swindon, England. He’s intellectually gifted, curious, and truehearted but struggles with modern social behaviors. Understood to be on the neurodivergent spectrum, Christopher has trouble interpreting metaphors, accepting an unwelcome touch, or processing emotional complexities.

Christopher’s struggle with social behavior manifests in behavioral problems of his own as he is faced with overwhelming and confrontational situations. The biggest test of his social-cognitive abilities comes one night when he discovers Ms. Shears’ dog, Wellington, tragically impaled with a gardening fork. His journey to uncover the pet’s true killer leads him on a path of self-discovery, as the truth is more complicated than previously thought.

Set/Lighting/Sound Design:

Scenic design by Bruce Goodrich delivers a strikingly vibrant and geometric set that seamlessly becomes multiple parts of this English community. The intimate staging places the actors ground-level on a mostly empty stage enveloped in a raised platform used to create levels in different scenes and to build on the perception of Christopher’s emotional and physical environment.

Everything in the physical space is indicative of Christopher and his way of thinking; things are neat, clean, and orderly in his world. However, the chaotic outside world is represented in the stage’s background, where abstract and ominous patterns connect back to Christopher’s anxieties. These feelings are made even more potent through the impressive technical design.

Andrea Heilman’s intense and thoughtful lighting design adds emotional layers to the performance, along with the exquisite sound design provided by Hovis that only adds to the intensity and realness of every scene.

Nick Santiago’s projection design adds a touch of magic to the already outstanding production. The creative projections on the back of the stage create a dazzling theatrical experience while delivering an intimate look into Christopher’s world. Whether it’s a simple street sign or an immersive galaxy cluster, Santiago’s designs play an instrumental part in the emotional build-up of the performance.

Acting:

Chapman University performing arts student Aaron Lipp plays Christopher, a role that seems to hit home for the young actor. A neurodivergent performer himself, Lipp played the role to much acclaim in the university’s production earlier this year.

Christopher’s spirit and tenacity are captured beautifully in Lipp’s performance. He brings genuine humanity and physicality to the character, which is mesmerizing and heart-wrenching to watch.

Christopher’s watchful father, Ed, is played by Casey Long, who astutely manages to balance the character’s parental and temperamental qualities. Ed’s overprotective nature leads him down his own path of self-reflection, and this nuanced character development is presented wonderfully in Long’s performance.

Holly Jeanne is delightful as Mrs. Alexander, a caring and neighborly friend to Christopher as he sets out on his investigation. Like her fellow ensemble members, Jeanne displays top-notch character skills in a multi-role performance. Each performer creates distinctively memorable and fully realized characters who interact with Christopher as he ventures out into unknown territory.

Within each performer, there is a dedication and understanding to the overall theme of a person like Christopher’s place in society.

Between the skilled acting and technical design, this production truly portrays each moment through Christopher’s unique lens. The play is an exciting and emotional narrative about the parts of life often taken for granted and how trust and integrity are more than ideas. The heartfelt, inspiring story is made even more impactful by the level of detail and talent presented in the Chance Theater’s marvelous production.

Reviewc
8.6 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Story8.5
Acting9.2
Set & Design9
Costumes7.8
Entertainment8.7
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Great Show! OCR Recommended! 

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , Last modified: October 9, 2023
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