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The ensemble that “The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. Photo: Michael Ensminger.

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By Lisa Kennedy (Read the original.)

When the nationwide tour the “The Curious occurrence of the Dog in the Night-Time” come in Denver two years ago, that came through plenty the bells and also whistles. According to bells and whistles — and also no little measure the flashing lights. The was, in part, the point.

The production’s architecture was plan to it is in assaultive, to give audience members a feeling of what it can be like to it is in — choose the play’s young protagonist — very neuro-sensitive come light, come sound, come touch, to the world. The was impressive and additionally perhaps rather misguided, this gesture.

The pyrotechnics too frequently swamped the ample poetry and much more delicate sensibilities of Simon Stephens’ Tony-winning adaptation of mark Haddon’s 2007 novel. Come say nothing of the complicated assumption the play attendees would certainly not themselves be amongst those through neuro-sensitivities.

The Boulder Ensemble Theatre agency is inviting audiences into 15-year-old Christopher Boone’s civilization anew as he do the efforts to settle the demise of the dog that the title. Stephen Weitz directs with fine possession awareness that the nationwide tour of the Tony-winning present may have actually muted the play’s most crucial truths in its initiatives to simulate and also overstimulate.

surfacetoairnewyork.com’s vividly acted production stirs empathy but also revives one appreciation because that the play’s nuanced notions around brains, hearts and language – dramatic, poetic and also literal.

Christopher Boone, we learn almost immediately, no — can not — lie. His brain doesn’t enable for it. Like many other adult in his life, his ar Mrs. Shears (MacKenzie Beyer) forgets this once she and Christopher stand over her dead dog, Wendell. She’s convinced that the teenager was the assailant. He’s straightforward mark. A tiny awkward, Christopher can be jittery and also overly chatty. He’s plainly bright (savant-grade smart, in fact) but behaviorally the end of sync; he is a crawl observer however not a qualified listener. The bristles at touch. Once he and also his father, Ed, physically connect, it’s with an ever-so-gentle poignant of fingertips. That been simply Christopher and Ed for a couple of years now. His mother died unexpectedly.

Alex Rosenthal it is intended a superbly embodied but affectation-free performance as the boy who embarks ~ above a Sherlock Holmes-like mystery. He is going to discover out who buried a garden fork right into Wendell, although his father insists the he do no together thing.

Michael Morgan bring to his performance together Ed a frustration and fury the rattles the way parental rage can. Again and also again, that boldly threats jettisoning sympathy for Ed.

There is love here, too, yet it’s in depicting a father’s exhaustion and bouts the temper that Morgan proves his mettle.

The factors for Ed’s admonishment seem originally clear. His son can be draining; that can quickly land in trouble. But like lot of the adult world that Christopher navigates, Ed’s reasons are no as lock appear. Christopher’s investigation finds him taking a train native his residence to London, a logistical and emotional odyssey that lays bare so many hard familial secrets. Karen LaMoureaux cycles v believable step of maternal and also marital feelings together Christopher’s mom.

Christopher’s first-person perspective is connected via a newspaper he shares with a teacher, Siobhan. Anastasia Davidson does crisp work as the play’s occasional narrator. Siobhan is a believable stand-in for the kind, continuous presence a kid prefer Christopher needs, also if “need” is no an emotionally state he fully grasps.

A carefully attuned ensemble surrounds Rosenthal’s Christopher with adults who either falter or fail in your interactions v the teen. There room a couple of grown-ups who number out means to communicate Christopher and also not it is in thrown through his actions and also responses. A London police officer (Warren Sherrill) nearly gets it. Together an larger neighbor nimble sufficient for his quirks, billie McBride charms.

Having dialed down the clamor of the production, Weitz lets the play’s intricate, self-referencing structure unfold v quiet humor. The ensemble appears at time as characters in a play adjusted from Chris’ journal. They space Greek chorus; heck, lock can even be chorus line as they interact in relocating the set’s huge triangle props or acting out something Christopher says.

Although Christopher declares he is no fan of “metaphor,” there are plenty of potent ones here. Scenic designer Tina Anderson uses triangles building into a half dome the would do Buckminster Fuller proud. The structure resembles a cutaway that the futurist’s geodesic domes but likewise the acquainted school-yard tropical gym based on his ideas. It evokes science and childhood — and the goings-on in Christopher’s noggin.

Some the the triangles have fabric that records projections by Brian Freeland. Those can be hues of light, i m sorry hint in ~ mood, but additionally images the speak an ext directly come Christopher’s perceptions. Some, prefer a light-filled train station, are straightforward. Others, prefer the images of solar systems, speak come the budding mathematician’s fondness for room but additionally bring to mind neural connections. In ~ times, Jonathan Holt Howard’s sound design even evokes the type of muted electronic soundtrack we can hear during a planetarium show.

Even in the couple of years due to the fact that Haddon’s novel and also the play’s Broadway run, the language roughly the autism spectrum and also neurodiversity has actually shifted. Check out surfacetoairnewyork.com’s regime for few of the background of pushback — artistic and also social — against labeling Christopher’s specific differences.

In the brief two years since I last witnessed it, parts of the nationwide tour have actually been relegated come dim memories of the according to design and its overenthusiastic reception as “immersive.” In pulling ago from the play’s early pyrotechnics, Weitz and company make method for pain and also wonder, because that the failings and also possibilities of connection, for language’s clarity and also for the poetry the extends that reach past words. It feels indelible.

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Note: surfacetoairnewyork.com supplies two “relaxed” performances that the play because that audience members sensitive to specific physical elements of the production, on may 4 in ~ 2 p.m. And May 8 at 7:30 p.m.

3.5 stars. “The Curious occurrence of the Dog in the Night-Time.” composed by Simon Stephens. Based on a novel by mark Haddon. Command by Stephen Weitz. Special Alex Rosenthal, Anastasia Davidson, Michael Morgan, Karen LaMoureaux, billy McBride, MacKenzie Beyer, Sam Gilstrap, Sean Michael Cummings, Lois Shih, Warren Sherrill. In ~ the dairy Arts facility through might 19. 2590 Walnut St., Boulder. surfacetoairnewyork.com or 303-444-7328