'Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' dazzles on Broadway

Mon Oct 6, 2014 1:52pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British import "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" mesmerized audiences on Broadway in its New York opening with a dazzling display of technical wizardry and an "extraordinary" debut performance by newcomer Alex Sharp.

The London National Theatre production led by Sharp, 25, who graduated from The Juilliard School in the spring, opened on Sunday night, thrilling audiences and critics alike.

The New York Times called it "one of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway," while trade magazine Variety described it as "spectacular," with Sharp giving an "extraordinary debut performance."

The play is based on the 2003 best-selling book by Mark Haddon. It follows Briton Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old math whiz with Asperger's Syndrome as he investigates, against his father's wishes, the mysterious killing of a neighbor's dog. It leads him and the audience on a spectacular journey.

Christopher cannot tell a lie, does not like being touched, loves numbers and trains, and lives with his father and a much-loved pet rat. After discovering how the dog died, he embarks on a frightening trip alone from his home in Wiltshire to London.

"The genius of director Marianne Elliott, who co-helmed the similarly brilliant 'War Horse', is to visualize what happens inside Christopher's head," said The New York Post newspaper.

The stark three-walled set and floor resemble a giant grid and Christopher draws faces and math formulas on it. But when he is confused and troubled, it transforms into a huge projection screen full of moving numbers to convey his internal chaos.

"The technical elements alone are breathtaking," said The Hollywood Reporter. "Everything here puts us inside the machine-like, coded order of math prodigy Christopher's mind, allowing us to experience events as he does."   Continued...