Though different is almost every way, both The Flick and Curious Incident are ALL about the magic of theater. One is practically all silence and stillness and language, and the other uses all of the technology available to elevate a relatively simple story to something incredible. I was blown away by both, in completely different ways. Spoilers will now abound, so you should probably stop reading, bookmark this page, order your tickets, see the show, then come back and see if you agree with me...
|photo credit: Joan Marcus|
As Christopher tries to solve the mystery of the dog's murder, other mysteries come to light. At the beginning of the play, we're told that Christopher's mother died two years ago, but as he digs up information from the neighbors, he discovers that she may not have died after all. So now there are several things for him to try to work through, all while maintaining his equilibrium (which isn't easy). The sets and lights and sound and choreography were brilliant in showing us exactly how Christopher was feeling, and processing information, moment to moment. As a boy on the autistic spectrum (I guess that he is, it's never actually stated what Christopher's issues are), Christopher can't be touched, can't lie, often can't decipher 'small talk' and has a rigidity in how he sees and responds to things. But he also has a vulnerability that is heartbreaking. His father longs to touch him and show him affection, but he constantly keeps him at arm's length, nearly literally.
Most of the original cast has departed the production, including the much-lauded lead boy, but the young man I saw play Christopher, Tyler Lea, was incredible. I can't even imagine a better performance. He had to portray this very rigid personality, yet not make him robotic or repetitive and make you care for his plight - Lea did all of this brilliantly. He was funny, sad, scared, smart, self-aware, yet completely ingenuous. Christopher is an amazing creation on the page, but could easily become a cliche; in Lea's hands, he's a complete whole person.
The rest of the cast was also terrific, I was especially taken with Andrew Long and Enid Graham as Christopher's parents and Nancy Robinette as a warm, kindly neighbor who tries to connect with Christopher. But, really, everyone was good, and they made a formidable ensemble. The staging of this show must be a bear to perform every night - one wrong step and the entire grid would fall apart. The cast all works together as an incredible whole to elevate the material to the level of the amazing physical production.
I was really just blown away by the production and loved every minute of it. I found it thrilling to look at and experience, but also very moving to listen to and feel. I definitely would love to see it again, but who knows when it will come up on TDF again? Maybe I should target other shows I missed early on to see what I may have missed. Hmmm. I don't have any tickets coming up in the near future - I can think of at least one acclaimed musical from last season (if not two) that I haven't seen yet. I need to work on this!