White Rock Players Club’s first show of its 76th season provides a moving insight into the world of autism – as well as what promotional materials describe as “a thrilling and heartwarming adventure.”
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel, and directed by Linda McRae – opens Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. at the White Rock Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd.
Set in present-day London, the show presents a mystery as seen through the eyes of Christopher Boone (played by Maurice Kimball), a 15-year-old who has an unspecified condition on the autism spectrum.
One evening, shortly after midnight, Christopher stumbles across the body of Wellington, a neighbour’s dog. Finding himself blamed for the death, he sets out to find the real killer.
But Christopher has many challenges not faced by the average amateur detective – he has never ventured alone beyond his own suburban street, for example; abhors physical contact and has a deep-seated distrust of strangers.
His understanding of the world is based almost entirely on the mathematical equations at which he excels – and the compassion of his school mentor, Siobhan (played by Adrian Shaffer), who guides him on how to interact appropriately with others, while still respecting his unusual intelligence.
Biggest obstacle to Christopher’s quest for the truth is his short-tempered but, essentially, caring father, Ed (Bryce Paul Mills), who forbids the boy to pursue the matter.
Reasoning that rules are meant to be broken, Christopher – likening himself to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (who in the story Silver Blaze remarked on “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”) – stubbornly persists.
His search results in some startling revelations and painful lessons, but also – ultimately –fuels his ambitions to challenge expectations, specifically by sitting an A Level mathematics exam.
Also appearing in the play, in the key role of Judy, is Darlene Isaac.
In keeping with Stephens’ adaptation concept, the play uses an array of visual effects to help convey Christopher’s perceptions to the audience.
Also evoking his world will be a series of off-stage voice characterizations provided by the versatile team of Samantha Hussey, Chris Carvelli, Harry Pering, Scott Kristjanson, John McCallum and Halia Hirniak.
Produced by Bridget Browning, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is presented with a warning of coarse language and swearing.
Wednesday and Thursday performances are at 8 p.m. (at a reduced ticket price of $15).
Ticket prices for Friday and Saturday performances (8 p.m.) and Sunday matinees (2:30 p.m.) are $28, or $24 for students and seniors.
Tickets are on sale now www.whiterockplayers.ca/shows