Review- The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nighttime- Hong Kong Arts Festival


By Nicole Garbellini


Being a parent can be hard. Being the parent of a special needs child can be harder. 
As the show begins, the audience is immediately transported to the squared set that reflects the claustrophobic mind of a teenage boy with Aspergers. The lights and sounds elevate that sense of claustrophobia while breaking down the complicated thoughts that invade Chris' mind.



The story focuses on the complicated parent-special needs child relationship. Chris lives with his father, who is not always the most patient man, despite the unconditional love he feels towards his son. He soon learns that his mother has passed away from a heart attack as he obsesses over the death of his dog, Wellington, who has died mysteriously.  Chris is questioned by the police as they believe he might be behind the demise of the dog. At the same time, finding the dog's killer becomes Chris' mission in life.



As the story evolves, Chris' relationship with his father becomes more and more tumultuous, and yet the audience feels sympathy for the parent, as one can only imagine how difficult the life of a single parent can be, especially when their child is affected with autism. The anger and resentment felt are justified when the audience realises that Chris' mother is not dead, but alive and kicking with another man in London after the couple had an affair.



Chris decides to leave his father's home to search for his mum, facing the world (and the London tube) all by himself. The ensemble played a fantastic role all throughout the play as they portrayed, through impeccable physicality, everything from the inside of a spaceship, swimming pool, to the London subway. The ensemble, together with the lights and sounds, were a great addition to Chris' fits of anger, elevated by all the surroundings. As one watches this problematic child, one cannot help but think what happens in the mind of someone who doesn't have the tools to express himself conventionally. I personally don't know how it is, but it couldn't have been explained better.



When Chris finally finds his mother, we finally get to know a bit more about this woman and her decision. Once again, the audience feels sympathy rather than judgement or even anger, as one can see that, despite the distance, her love for her difficult child hasn't vanished. The plot highlights the imperfections of these two parents who try their best to give as much as they can to their son, in one way or another.As I sat through the second half, I was not sure what to expect next, as the plot had already revealed a lot.



Chris agrees to go back to his father's home as he is willing to take his math A-Level, despite the general discouragement that it might be too soon and perhaps more time will have to pass. Despite his disability, Chris proves that he can do it; in fact, one can do anything if one tries. With this, the play ends, and the audience leaves the theatre, but one thing sticks in the mind: can we do anything if we really try? 


This production has now closed


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 5.0


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