Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Round House Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's reviews of Singin' in the Rain and Newsies

Tonya Beckman and Harrison Bryan
Photo by C. Stanley Photography
Simon Stephens' Tony- and Olivier Award-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is receiving a luminous production at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland—both illuminating in its insights and bright in its emotional uplift.

Directors Ryan Rilette and Jared Mezzocchi are working with a powerful ensemble cast, anchored by the riveting Harrison Bryan in Stephens' adaptation of Mark Haddon's 2003 novel about a teenage boy, who appears to be on the autism spectrum, navigating the world around him. Bryan is Christopher Boone, a genius at math but unable to deal with everyday communication. (To him, there's a clear-cut distinction between truth and lies, and he is mystified when trying to decode common idioms and metaphors. Math, on the other hand, is exact and easy for him to understand.)

Christopher is recounting his experiences in a book for his teacher Siobhan (warmly empathetic Tessa Klein), beginning with his discovery that someone killed his neighbor's dog. Determined to solve the crime as Sherlock Holmes would do, he angers his father (Cody Nickell, frustrated yet loving) and learns a lot about both himself and his place in the world. Tonya Beckman gives an affecting performance as an important woman in Christopher's life, who doesn't appear until late in the play.

The story unfolds from Christopher's point of view, conveyed through Bryan's every facial expression and overriding sense of rigid physical control, but amplified through Mezzocchi's projections that bring the audience inside the character's brain. Images appear on Paige Hathaway's set of stacked white boxes as if drawn in chalk on a blackboard—pictures, writing, videogame screens, and locations both familiar and new—and even the sound of audio static is given a visual equivalent. Choreographers Colette Krogol and Matt Reeves of Orange Grove Dance allow Bryan to float weightlessly in space.

In keeping with Christopher's difficulty with recognizing people, Stephens uses six actors (Laura C. Harris, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Cody LeRoy Wilson, Eric Hissom, Kathryn Tkel, Kimberly Schraf) to represent the other people in the character's world, from neighbors to police officers, and even actors.

Sherrice Mojgani's lighting design and Andre Pluess' sound design intensify the audience's disorientation, as well as providing moments of shattering clarity.

Round House Theatre
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
November 21st - December 22nd, 2019
By Simon Stephens
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon
Christopher: Harrison Bryan
Siobhan: Tessa Klein
Ed: Cody Nickell
Judy: Tonya Beckman
Voice 1: Laura C. Harris
Voice 2: Maboud Ebrahimzadeh Voice 3: Cody LeRoy Wilson
Voice 4: Eric Hissom
Voice 5: Kathryn Tkel
Voice 6: Kimberly Schraf
Directed by Ryan Rilette & Jared Mezzocchi
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-564-1100 or