I’ve been dying to see this show since it first opened in London in 2012. Mark Haddon’s book by the same name was a favorite of mine when I was younger, especially because Christopher, the main character who tells the story in the first person, has autism, which helped me feel like I could better understand the inner world of people with autism in my life.
The story — sans spoilers — goes like this: One night, Christopher finds his neighbor’s dog murdered in her front yard. He becomes obsessed with solving the crime, convinced that whoever ran the dog through with a pitchfork (don’t worry, we’re spared the graphic details) should serve prison time for murder. His meticulous methodology for finding clues leads him to discover a huge family secret that completely changes everything.
Village Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. The script follows the book closely but makes interesting and unexpected adaptations for the stage. In the 10-person cast, for example, actors move between playing multiple characters and narrating Christopher’s inner dialogue as if reading from Christopher’s journal. This not only blurs the line between reality and fiction — adding another interesting layer to the show — but also demands a level of talent and versatility in a cast that Village Theatre’s ensemble rose to meet.
Jéhan Òsanyìn, a Seattle-based activist, plays Christopher’s para-professional Siobhan while also doing a great deal of narration from Christopher’s perspective. Òsanyìn balances these shifting roles with remarkable dexterity, enriching the show profoundly.
Equally impressive is the performance given by Michael Krenning, who plays Christopher. A recent graduate from Western Washington University’s business marketing program, Krenning depicts a 15-year-old British boy with autism in a way that is more than believable; he inhabits the complex character seemingly with ease. The detail of his performance, from his hand motions to the way he tilts his mouth in moments of stress, allowed me to completely lose myself inside of the show.
Between the raw talent of Village Theatre’s cast, the creative use of a bare-bones set, and a script that captures the spirit of the book I so loved when I was young, I can easily say that I’m sold on this show. You can (and should) catch it in Issaquah through April 21, or in Everett April 26 to May 19.