Michael Krenning plays Christopher, a teenager with autism spectrum disorder, and Kathryn Van Meter is Judy, his mother, in Village Theatre’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” (Mark Kitaoka / Village Theatre)

Michael Krenning plays Christopher, a teenager with autism spectrum disorder, and Kathryn Van Meter is Judy, his mother, in Village Theatre’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” (Mark Kitaoka / Village Theatre)

Village’s ‘Curious Incident’ features superb acting, stagecraft

A good example of progressive theater, the play should be required viewing for drama students.

Once a season, Village Theatre — best known for its outstanding musicals — offers a non-musical play.

And this year, the play is outstanding as well.

Based on the popular, award-winning book of the same name, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” won the best-new-play Olivier award in 2013 following its premiere in London, and it garnered Broadway’s Tony award for best play in 2015.

Village’s production is comparable to those award-winners. (The show continues through May 19 at the Everett Performing Arts Center.)

It has brilliant acting, fine direction by Village’s artistic director Jerry Dixon, and amazing design in setting, projection, sound and lighting.

And, no, it’s not a musical, but choreography by Sonia Dawkins and new original music by Curtis Moore add significantly to the story.

OK, so what’s it about?

(If you haven’t read the book, we won’t give anything away. I hadn’t read the book, and, based on the wonderful audience response to surprises on stage, I will venture to say that probably few at this past Sunday’s matinee had either.)

Christopher, a British teen with autism spectrum disorder, is wrongfully accused of killing his neighbor’s dog. And so this math-whiz kid, who suffers in his distrust of strangers and his struggle to interpret daily life, bravely sets out to find out who really killed the dog.

What he uncovers has little to do with the dog.

Michael Krenning plays Christopher. A graduate of Western Washington University and Village’s KidStage program, Krenning was Crutchie in Village’s 2018 production of Disney’s “Newsies.” He is believable, energetic and does a great job leading the cast.

James D. Sasser (who writes and produces new musicals) is Ed, Christopher’s dad. Kathryn Van Meter (who directed Village’s “Matilda” earlier this season) plays Judy, his mum. Their portrayals of parents of a son with Asperger’s are spot on, and the audience is drawn into their emotions.

Jehan Osanyin also is enjoyable and believable as Siobhan — Christopher’s mentor, teacher and friend.

The rest of the cast — many who will be familiar to regular Village patrons and well-known in professional regional theater — play a variety of roles. Their costume changes are made on stage as they slip from one character to the next. Anne Allgood, Eric Polani Jensen, Rob Burgess, Cheryl Massey-Peters, Keiko Green and William Shindler are the other “voices” in the play.

The set takes up the entire stage, which is then divided by blackboards on wheels, folding chairs and other minimal pieces. Projection of words, lights and atmospheric elements play a big part in setting the mood, as does the music. It all adds up to a glimpse into the world that Christopher sees, feels and struggles to process.

After the curtain call, stay in your seat. Christopher might have something else to say.

The matinee audience Sunday was mostly gray-haired folks, and that is understandable, but rather sad.

This is a play for young people. Village prices can be expensive, but the company offers rush tickets, which are sold (on a first-come, first-served basis subject to availability) at the box office an hour before curtain for half the price. Bring your student ID.

Every theater student in Snohomish County should see this show. It’s fast-paced, features great acting by a young man, includes lots of tech stuff and it’s a good example of progressive theater.

If you go

Village Theatre’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave.

Through May 19 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. There is an additional matinee on May 16, and closing day is matinee only.

Call the box office at 425-257-8600. More at www.villagetheatre.org/everett.

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