“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is definitely not your typical “feel good” show, at least as they’ve come to be defined by the Segerstrom Center’s theater season, which consists almost exclusively of popular touring musicals, many of them relics of Broadway’s Golden Age.
For one thing, it’s spoken-word drama, not a song-and-dance production. The last time one of those played at Segerstrom, to my knowledge, was “Twelve Angry Men” back in 2008.
For another, Simon Stephens’ Tony-winning script, based on a popular 2003 mystery novel by Mark Haddon, demands a lot of its audience. It pulls us into the mind of a 15-year-old suburban London boy named Christopher Boone who’s on the autism spectrum – something we see not only through the convincing performance of actor Adam Langdon, but by way of the immersive scenic design.
Bunny Christie (set and costumes), Paule Constable (lighting), Finn Ross (video) and Ian Dickinson (sound) create a disturbing realm that’s shot through with sensory overload, and during the second act it hits us like a prize fighter’s wallop. The simple act of going somewhere on his own terrifies and confuses Christopher, and we experience the world through his senses: a cacophony of garish lights, confusing signs, bustling crowds and too much stimulation….